Summary: Fresno State's Derek Carr spent the past few years as one of the most prolific quarterbacks in college football. He steadily improved over the course of three seasons to the point where he was putting up massive passing totals to close out his career. The younger brother of David Carr, the former No.1 overall pick by the Texans, Derek Carr has a good skill set and pedigree to be a starter in the NFL.
In 2013, Carr completed 69 percent of his passes for 5,083 yards with 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The senior displayed a good arm with field vision and intelligence to tear apart WAC secondaries. He completed 67 percent of his passes for 4,104 yards with 37 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2012. Carr completed 63 percent of his passes in 2011 for 3,544 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The first-year starter ran for three scores, too.
At the Senior Bowl, Carr had a solid week of practice and was the most polished passer in Mobile. He is built pretty solidly, but he doesn't have elite size. Carr's hand size (9 1/8 inches) is smaller than ideal, too. Overall, he has a good, but not elite, skill set for the next level.
Carr was smart in his decision-making in 2013 while demonstrating a strong arm with good field vision. He is a developed pocket passer. Carr can make all the throws that the NFL requires and does an impressive job of taking what a defense is giving him. He is patient and spreads the ball around. For the next level, Carr looks like a natural pocket passer. He isn't a dual-threat quarterback who will burn a defense with his feet, but he can move around when he has to and make throws while rolling out.
Against good defenses, Carr could get flustered by a heavy pass rush. That is a legitimate concern considering that problem is what led to his older brother being a bust. Derek Carr beat up on weak competition and will need to get better in his ability to handle pressure. Sources have told WalterFootball.com that Carr has some anxiety issues that will have to be ironed out with his NFL coaching staff. Those could be seen in the fourth quarter against San Jose State and the bowl game against USC.
During his teen years, Carr hung around a lot with his older brother and already has experience being in an NFL meeting room breaking down tape. He spent a lot of time shadowing his older brother, so making the change to the NFL will be easier for Derek Carr than other rookie signal-callers.
In speaking with sources from some quarterback-needy teams, they didn't believe that Carr would make it to their second-round pick. They believe that some team will take him on Thursday night.
Player Comparison: Carson Palmer. It would be easy to say Carr's older brother, David, but I think the younger Carr will have the better NFL career. Palmer has had a quality NFL career. Both Carr and Palmer have good arms, but neither has one of the biggest cannons to be found in the NFL. They both are comfortable pocket passers who can distribute the ball downfield. They also can get flustered by a good pass rush and have bouts of inaccuracy or mistakes when seeing steady pressure. There are some differences as Palmer was the No. 1 overall pick and is bigger than Carr. Obviously, Carr won't be selected that early. However, he still could easily be a first-round pick.
NFL Matches: Jacksonville, Cleveland, Oakland, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Arizona
There are a lot of quarterback-needy teams that could select Carr early in the 2014 NFL Draft. Going in the top five looks unlikely, but if the Jaguars or Raiders target another position, either could look to trade back into the first round to take Carr.
The Browns could go for a different position with the fourth pick and aim to land Carr with their first-rounder from the Colts.
There have been reports that the Vikings have spent a lot of time with Carr and have taken a liking to him. Minnesota reached for Christian Ponder in 2011, so it isn't out of the realm of possibility that the team would do so again.
Tampa Bay could also have interest in Carr depending on how the new regime feels about Mike Glennon. The Arizona Cardinals could also consider him as the heir apparent to Palmer.