Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Scouting the 2014 NFL Draft: Derek Carr

It is impossible to think about Derek Carr without thinking about David Carr. Great arm, good athlete, and just looks the part of a quarterback. Obviously, Derek's brother's career didn't quite worked out like he planned as he spent more time staring up at the sky than he did celebrating touchdown passes. Still, he spent 11 years in the NFL. It wasn't a glorious career, but he was still talented enough to keep around. I always go into these with open minds, as sometimes I can be surprised for the better, and sometimes, I can be shocked for the worse. I checked out Carr's games against Utah State and Nevada.

Derek Carr can do a lot of amazing things on the football field. On this play, he does a nice job of leading his receiver on this throw.

The coverage is good, but he lead the receiver nicely which also helps the receiver gain an extra five yards after the catch.

Unfortunately, Derek Carr can also look pretty bad at times. His short route accuracy could use some work as this should be an easy toss as the receiver has plenty of space in front of the defender.

Instead, he seems a little too amped up and sails the pass. Fresno State did a nice job of playing to his strengths and overloading different sides of the field so all Carr had to do was step back and fire towards the sideline, but just going 7-10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage makes his accuracy shaky.

This is one of my favorite passes from him. He throws a rocket 20 yards down field to hit his receiver in stride.

This is the type of throw that will get teams excited, because that is a throw you can dream on.

One big issue that he has is the belief in his arm. He'll throw seam routes 20 yards down the field and will just try to rocket the ball as hard as he can to get it to his receiver.

This works with glitches in video games, but it does not work in real life. He can throw it hard, but he cannot throw it hard enough to impale defenders.

This is a good example of him moving well in the pocket.

He still throws it into tight coverage, but this play does display his abilities to feel pressure and move well within in the pocket, something he consistently did well from what I saw.

Although he can sometimes notice coverage and use his checkdown, there are some plays where he is bound and determined to hit his first read. This is an example of a fourth down play where the receiver was clearly covered.

There was some contact in there, but Carr had time to look for other receivers but instead just tried to fire the ball in there as hard as he could. Had he turned to his right and threw the swing pass, there is a good chance the receiver would have been able to get the first down since he had some space between himself and the closing defender.

This is the best play I saw from him. He's in that ideal range to take a shot at the end zone, and he doesn't miss. This is a perfectly placed deep ball that lands right in his receiver's hands who beats the single coverage on the outside.

As great as the throw is, the subtle movement before the throw is nearly as important. He squares his shoulders to the middle of the field which keeps the safety in the middle. He then quickly turns to his right and fires the ball, and the safety has no chance of providing help over the top. This is an all-around great play.

On the other hand, this is what happens when you don't look off the safety and try to throw a ball over the top.

It ends in an interception on what was otherwise a well-thrown ball.

Since I like to end on a positive note, here is another really nice deep ball from Carr.

The thing I really like about this play is how calm he stays despite being backed up against his own end zone. He takes the snap, goes through the play action, calmly sets, lets his receiver build up some steam and throws the ball as a defensive end closes in near him.

Derek Carr shows flashes that put him among the best quarterbacks in this draft class. Still, there is a too much inconsistency, especially in his accuracy, to put him among the best quarterbacks in this class. His good and bad is easy to see, and I see a lot of similarities between him and Mettenberger as prospects. Both have the big arms, but the inconsistent accuracy is what would scare me away from them before the middle rounds. I have Mettenberger with a slight edge, since he did his work against better defenses (to be fair, he also had some pretty impressive receivers), and although I feel like his accuracy needs to improve, he was better at still giving his receivers chances to make a play. Still, Carr is right behind Mettenberger and far ahead of McCarron.

Here are my quarterback rankings for the prospects I have looked at so far:
1. Teddy Bridgewater - Louisville
2. Blake Bortles - Central Florida
3. Jimmy Garoppolo - Eastern Illinois
4. Zach Mettenberger - Louisiana State

5. Derek Carr - Fresno State
6. AJ McCarron - Alabama
7. Tajh Boyd - Clemson
8. David Fales - San Jose State
9. Logan Thomas - Virginia Tech
10. Brett Smith - Wyoming
11. Aaron Murray - Georgia

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