With the 2014 NFL Draft a few months away, teams are beginning to make their preliminary decisions on which players to look at once the clock begins to tick in early May.
One of the names that has jumped out early on is Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr. Yes, Carr's brother is David Carr, who was the No. 1 overall pick by the Houston Texans in the 2002 NFL Draft.
After shining at the NFL Combine, the perception of Carr has begun to change. According to NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah the Cleveland Browns are targeting Carr. His draft stock has also improved so much that Carr is being placed ahead of Texas A&M's quarterback Johnny Manziel in a few NFL draft boards.
At Fresno State, the 6'2" QB managed to play in five games during the 2009 season before red-shirting in 2010. In 2011, Carr was named Fresno State's starter and eventually ended up earning a second-team All-WAC honor for his 3,544 passing yards and 26 touchdowns against nine interceptions.
Among Carr's accolades with Fresno State were being named the 2012 Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year for setting the single-season conference record with 4,104 passing yards and smashing the all-time passing yard record at Fresno State with his 5,083-yard and 50 touchdown performance last season.
|Derek Carr's Fresno State Passing Stats|
So what should the average fan need to know about Carr? Let's go over his strengths and weaknesses.
One of the more underrated aspects of Carr's approach is what his brother could not do well in Houston— move around the field.
Carr only rushed for 190 total yards in his four years at Fresno State, but he showed off some athleticism at the NFL Combine. Carr posted a 4.69 40-yard dash time, which is a shade behind Manziel's time of 4.68.
He also isn't afraid to take strides and put his body on the line.
Carr has good arm strength to push the ball from sideline-to-sideline, end zone-to-end zone. He can throw the deep fade and fire passes into tight windows with velocity and persistence.
His athleticism aids his passing ability, allowing him to open up the pocket and keep his eyes downfield in order to create his own plays.
There are a few knocks on Carr, however.
At Fresno State, Carr played primarily out of the shotgun, as shown by his 604 passing attempts in 2014. Carr was somewhat inconsistent in his performances as well. The QB struggled in games against Cal Poly and USC with two sub-220-yard passing performances.
Fresno State was also considered a "pass-happy" offense, which allowed Carr to stay in the shotgun. His sacks were down, but he still showed nerves when rushed by opponents.
Carr is projected to go somewhere in the first two rounds because of the needs of NFL teams.
Three teams to look at during the draft:
Minnesota Vikings (1st - #8; 2nd - #8)
Oakland Raiders (1st - #5; 2nd - #4)
Cleveland Browns (1st - #4, #26; 2nd - #3)
I believe that the Cleveland Browns will select Carr with either the 26th pick of the first round or the third pick of the second round.
Be on the lookout for Carr, he encases the intangibles to be a NFL-caliber QB.