The incredible 2013 college football season put together by Fresno State was supposed to be capped with an undefeated record, a legitimate Heisman campaign for Derek Carr and a decent 2014 NFL Draft pick for the Bulldogs’ signal-caller. Well, one loss doesn’t kill Fresno State’s accomplishments this year and Carr is at least going to be a nod of acknowledge from a the Heisman voters. However, an early draft pick likely isn’t in Carr’s future, and that’s the way it should be.
That’s not to say Carr is a terrible NFL prospect, but he’s not this dark horse top passer in the 2014 class that some are making him out to be. If you read a scouting report that claims Carr is “poised in the pocket,” click out of it immediately because it’s hogwash.
Let’s quickly establish that this scouting repot is not a comparison between Carr and his older brother, David Carr: No. 1 overall pick by the Houston Texans in 2002. However, there are similarities between the two that suggest the younger Carr is going to have a similar NFL career.
The Bulldogs’ fifth-year senior quarterback has a great arm — there’s no arguing that. It’s not the strongest in the world, but it’s more than capable of making all the throws at the next level with solid accuracy. However, that and a truckload of yards in the pitiful Mountain West Conference do not a viable starting NFL quarterback make.
Folks who think so are ignorant and will quickly point to Carr’s 4,400 yards, 45 touchdowns and five interceptions this year. Well, his older brother threw for almost the exact same numbers in his senior season and look how his pro career turned out. Again, David’s career doesn’t mean anything for Derek, other than the fact the two passers have the same critical flaws.
The trait of bad feet runs in the Carr family. Like David, Derek dances in the pocket and his feet are not set on a vast majority of his throws. Thus, he likes to “arm it” on a lot of his passes. That works fine against MWC defenses, but it won’t against units like the Seattle Seahawks.
Likewise, Carr also has a bad habit of throwing lob passes off his back foot. Pull up any highlight reel of his deep touchdown throws and you’ll see the receiver looking up and waiting for the ball like a punt return. Again, that works against defenses like Hawaii (ninth-worst pass defense among all 125 FBS schools), but it won’t work against NFL units.
Now having said all that, Derek possesses tons more potential than David ever did. If Carr lands in the right system with the right coaching staff behind the right veteran passer, he can likely develop into a solid NFL passer. He simply needs to work on his footwork, which will translate into less jump balls for his receivers. If he can accomplish that as a late-round pick on a team that doesn’t need him to start immediately, then Carr might eventually be a viable pro signal-caller. But if he’s drafted early and thrown to the wolves, he won’t last long. Cross your fingers, Fresno State fans.