After putting together a record-setting performance at Fresno State, Derek Carr boasts one of the best pedigrees of any quarterback in the 2014 NFL draft class.
The Oakland Raiders selected Carr in the second round with the 36th overall pick of the draft, hoping his strong resume will turn into results on the field at the highest level.
CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora had it first:
The Raiders have selected Derek Carr http://t.co/YTtcQ6MRo8— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) May 9, 2014
Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle provides an update on how the Raiders' view their quarterback situation:
Clinkscales: "Matt Schaub is our starter. Derek (Carr) will come in and learn."— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) May 10, 2014
While all the hype this year was directed at Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater and Central Florida's Blake Bortles—the former two for excelling at high-profile schools and the latter for his size and arm strength—Carr's career numbers trump all three.
In three years as Fresno State's starting quarterback, Carr threw for 12,730 yards, 113 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. His completion percentage got better each year, going from 62.6 in 2011 to 67.3 in 2012 to 68.9 in 2013, leading college football with 5,083 yards and 50 touchdowns last year.
Carr's only real problem was the team he played for. The Bulldogs play in the Mountain West Conference, rarely getting marquee matchups like Manziel had against Alabama or Bridgewater had against Florida, making it hard for the world to see what this team could do.
It certainly appeared that the NFL finally caught on to what Carr did in college and what he's capable of moving forward, because various mock drafts had the quarterback landing somewhere in the first round.
This new NFL, where teams spread the field with multiple three- and four-receiver sets, bodes well for what Carr does best. Take a look at this stat from Kevin Clark of The Wall Street Journal:
Pulled some numbers: Manziel ran out of shotgun 87.2% of the time. Evaluators are seeing LOTS of shotgun, since Derek Carr was in it 97.6%— Kevin Clark (@KevinClarkWSJ) April 15, 2014
Bleacher Report NFL draft writer Matt Miller compared Carr to current Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler because of his massive arm strength, though Carr doesn't have the combative attitude that Cutler will show at times:
As much flak as Cutler gets, fans of Carr's new team should be flattered by the comparison. Cutler has been a starting quarterback in the NFL for seven years, thrown for over 3,000 yards in every season he's played at least 15 games and had four consecutive seasons with at least 20 touchdown passes from 2007 to 2010.
Carr certainly isn't lacking for confidence, telling "NFL AM" on NFL Network (h/t Mike Huguenin of NFL.com) on April 15 that he's the best quarterback in the draft:
Absolutely. And I say that with respect to all the other guys because they're great competitors and all those good things. And it's not easy for me to answer a question like that but I absolutely think so.
There's no doubt in my mind. We can turn the film on, sit down and watch it and we'll talk about it and I'll convince you.
College numbers don't mean a lot when evaluating a player in the NFL, but it's still important to perform. Carr did that better than any quarterback in the country last season.
He was the best-kept secret in college football during his tenure at Fresno State. Now, after finding a home in the NFL, the world will learn all about Carr.
Lost in the shuffle of the gaudy numbers that Carr put up is the fact that he led an often overmatched Fresno State team to 20 combined wins and back-to-back bowl games in 2012 and 2013.
Oakland may not be in a position to win right away, but Carr can make the most of the situation. He may struggle at first with the speed of the game, something that was a problem at times during college. Things will click before his rookie season is over, though, leading to an extremely bright future for both the player and team moving forward.