The lead-up to the 2014 NFL draft will be all about quarterback prospects Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles.
With so many teams drafting in the top 10 having serious quarterback needs, expect those names to fly off the board early.
However, don’t sleep on another elite college quarterback in the first round. Fresno State’s Derek Carr posted one of the most impressive NFL combines for any quarterback and cemented his status as a potential early pick in the process.
The 40-yard dash is the number that inspires so many headlines at the combine, and Carr certainly left his mark.
Only four quarterbacks posted faster times than Carr’s 4.69, and only Logan Thomas and Stephen Morris were more than .03 seconds faster than Carr.
Carr’s 40 time was so critical because the tape already proves he can throw the football. By demonstrating his straight-line speed, Carr let NFL scouts know he has the athleticism necessary to tuck the ball down and run or even be a part of a read-option scheme.
Carr followed up his formidable performance in the 40-yard dash with a vertical jump of 34.5". Only Thomas jumped higher than Carr, which again further proved that Carr is underrated in the athleticism department.
Perhaps Carr’s most notable number at the combine was the 4.2-second mark he posted in the 20-yard shuffle. That, more than anything else, foreshadows how elusive he can be in the tight space of the pocket, which will be critical with NFL pass-rushers bearing down on him on every snap.
Only Thomas and Manziel had better times in the 20-yard shuffle.
Will Derek Carr be a first-round pick?
When Carr’s combine workouts are paired with his college production, he will be hard to ignore on draft day. The Fresno State signal-caller threw for 5,082 yards and 50 touchdowns in 2013 and led the Bulldogs to an 11-2 record. He threw for more than 4,100 yards as a junior in 2012, so he was far from a one-year wonder.
While Carr’s solid combine numbers and college production will certainly help his standing, there are still some concerns that come with the Carr name because of David Carr’s general failures to live up to his hype in the NFL. However, Derek told Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal that having David as an older brother has been an advantage for quite some time:
Just having David is such an advantage. I’ve been getting ready for this moment since I was 3. I went to the game Sunday and I was telling my dad, ‘Hey, they’re about to bring this blitz,’ and next thing you know it happened. I don’t think 12-year-olds are supposed to be doing that.
Looking forward, where will Carr end up?
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller portends good things for the former Bulldog:
I still see many possibilities in which Derek Carr is a first-round pick. And maybe even top 15 at that.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 22, 2014
With such a high demand for quarterbacks in this year’s draft, Carr will find a place in the first round, especially after such an impressive combine performance. He has the skill set necessary to contribute immediately at the next level.
Now all he needs is the opportunity.
Note: All combine results courtesy of NFL.com's results tracker.
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