Lost in the shuffle thanks to big names such as Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel, Fresno State's Derek Carr needed a big day at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine to officially arrive as a viable first-round prospect.
After throwing for more than 3,500 yards in each of his last three seasons and throwing for 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions as a senior, many wanted to see how Carr would stack up on the same field next to college football's elite.
Carr understood going into the process what his combine performance would mean based on what he currently knows about his stock, as he told the media, via Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke:
From the evaluations that I’ve had and the meetings that I’ve had … I don’t care what anyone says out of those rooms, because I know what I’ve heard and I know what [teams have] said to me. They’re never going to sugarcoat things. It’s just fun to hear [the criticisms] because I know what the teams are telling me.
Unfortunately, it was revealed before the combine by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport that Carr would only participate in non-throwing drills and save his throwing display for his pro day:
With so much on the line in Indianapolis, Carr stepped up in a big way and boosted his stock.
|Height||Weight||Arm length||Hand size||40-yard dash||Bench press||Broad jump||Vertical Jump||20-Yard Shuttle|
|6'2"||214 pounds||31 1/2"||9 1/8"||4.69||N/A||110 inches||34.5 inches||4.20|
40-Yard Dash: 4.69 Seconds
The most popular drill of all only says so much about quarterback prospects, and evaluators knew coming into the event that Carr excelled in the pocket thanks to his quick feet built for roll-outs and evasive maneuvers.
Carr reinforced his athleticism with an unofficial 40-yard-dash time of 4.65. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller and ESPN's Josina Anderson instantly sang his praises after his first and second runs, respectively:
Surprised by the 4.68 for Derek Carr. Knew he was a good athlete, but that's impressive speed.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 23, 2014
Derek Carr has very even technique from top to bottom when he runs. A smooth 4.65 on his 2nd 40 unofficially.— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) February 23, 2014
As ESPN's Adam Schefter captures, Carr's time was second only to Johnny Manziel:
UNOFFICIAL 40 times: Johnny Manziel: 4.56 Derek Carr: 4.65 Jordan Lynch: 4.72 Tajh Boyd: 4.75 Blake Bortles: 4.81 AJ McCarron: 4.91— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 23, 2014
While only one facet of his overall impressive game, Carr's speed in the drill reinforces his mobility in the pocket. In an NFL that has trended toward more mobility in play design in recent years, Carr's performance likely helps him move up some boards—as long as he shows strong in passing drills at his pro day.
The number eventually settled on an official 4.69, which was both expected and what scouts wanted to see.
Vertical Jump: 34.5 Inches
While it does not mean much of anything in the grand scheme of things for the position, it is impressive that Carr was able to come away with the second-best time in the vertical jump out of all signal-callers that competed.
Like his 40-yard-dash drill, Carr was calm and approached the test with a cool demeanor before exploding for a number that turned a few heads.
The vertical is one small slice of an overall athleticism picture that paints Carr in a very strong light.
Broad Jump: 110 Inches
It should come as no surprise that Carr again impressed when he stepped up to the broad jump drill.
Carr's total allowed him to outclass most of the participants. The explosiveness out of a prone stance is nice to see and highlights his impressive initial burst of speed, but it's not all that telling for the position.
But again, in tandem with the overall performance, Carr clearly has the game from a physical standpoint that teams wanted to see.
Mission complete for Carr.
The Fresno State product attempting to emerge from his brother's shadow did just enough at the combine to help evaluators forget about his decision to not throw against the nation's top players.
How did the combine impact Carr's stock?
As a result of his impressive numbers, Carr is surely on the rise around the league. He remains a sleeper option for the first round, although he could drop into the second round depending on how teams view this year's crop of quarterbacks.
With numbers comparable to Johnny Manziel's from an athleticism standpoint, Carr used the oft-overrated combine to at the very least get more eyeballs on his tape and pro day, which will potentially translate into a higher draft selection.
The day could not have gone better for Carr considering the drills in which he chose to participate.
Note: All info courtesy of NFL.com unless otherwise specified.