Although the general consensus is that Derek Carr is a reach at No. 8, the Minnesota Vikings would be crazy to pass on the strong-armed quarterback out of Fresno State. The Vikings have been plagued by bad quarterback play since the day Brett Favre left, and with the opportunity to add a quarterback that perfectly fits offensive coordinator Norv Turner‘s scheme means the Vikings must take a chance on Carr early.
It’s common knowledge that Carr has the strongest arm in the draft, and during Senior Bowl practice he wowed coaches with his ability to zip the ball through the wind and on target. Not only can he throw the deep ball and put plenty of zip on shorter throws, but Carr has underrated accuracy that combined with his strength allows him to fit the ball through tight windows on throws that quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady wouldn’t even attempt.
The touch and accuracy he shows on intermediate throws make him the complete package from the arm standpoint, and his only real concerns are with inconsistent footwork, and an inability to succeed under pressure. Carr often gets sloppy with his footwork and relies on his arm to make the throw, which sometimes works, but once at the NFL level he must work on his footwork if he hopes to become a consistent long-time starter.
Carr’s critics also point to his inability to lead the Bulldogs over the USC Trojans in the Las Vegas bowl, however, they often ignore that his teammates were overmatched at every position by the top of the line recruits that play for USC, and the fact that the Bulldogs ran the ball just six times all game. The Trojans defense knew Carr would be dropping back on every snap, yet he still completed 54 percent of his passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns.
While not putting up his usual eye-popping stats, Carr made numerous tough throws against the Trojans and proved he actually can succeed against top of the line Division I talent. His other competition in this quarterback class include Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles, all talented quarterbacks, but none that fit the Vikings’ system as well as Carr.
While Bridgewater is the most NFL-ready prospect in the draft, Carr is the No. 2 guy with Bortles and Manziel a tier lower and likely benefiting from a year on the bench. The Vikings have an offense built to win now, and while Bridgewater would make them an immediate playoff contender, Carr is the No. 2 quarterback on my board and a future NFL star.
Carr tore up the Mountain West Conference for three straight seasons, and as long as he isn’t snagged before the Vikings are on the clock, Rick Spielman and company should pull the trigger on Derek Carr at pick No. 8.