Derek Carr QB Fresno State #4
Size/Athleticism: Adequate height and overall size, although he could certainly benefit from adding a few pounds so that he’s better able to take hits. Definitely not a run-first quarterback but he’s a much better athlete you’d expect based on how he plays. When he needs to buy time, he’s more than capable of rolling out of the pocket and he still looks good throwing on the run.
Arm strength/Accuracy: Legitimate NFL arm strength. Has the ability to make all the throws and doesn’t necessarily need to have perfect footwork and mechanics to get the ball down the field. Makes some throws off his back foot under pressure that most prospects in this class can only make with perfect fundamentals. Accuracy is average to above average at all levels. Due to his arm strength, he has a habit of not setting his feet and sometimes throwing from an awkward open stance which diminishes his accuracy. Can fit the ball in tight windows with his arm strength but also knows when to take something off and throw a catchable ball.
Footwork/Release: Overall mechanics are solid, but not always consistent. When he’s consistently under pressure he starts to rush and forgets about his feet. Needs to learn to throw from a sturdy base due to its effect on his accuracy, even though he doesn’t necessarily need it for arm strength.
Decision making: Trusts his arm too much. He throws far too many passes into tight spaces under pressure when he can’t get set and doesn’t have the velocity or accuracy he needs to fit the ball into tight windows. Needs to learn when to take a sack or throw it away. Extremely limited in what he was asked to do in Fresno’s offensive system—over 50 percent of his passes as a senior were within five yards of the line of scrimmage. Doesn’t have a ton of experience reading the defense and going through his progression.
Intangibles: Reportedly interviewed very well at the combine. A smart player on and off the field. Younger brother of former No. 1 overall pick David Carr. Mature off the field compared to many prospects. Already married with a son.
Durability: Played through a sports hernia in 2012 which required offseason surgery.
Comments: Carr has elite potential, but needs to iron out some flaws in his game. His arm strength is an asset, but it’s led to some bad habits because he hasn’t needed to perfect his mechanics. His accuracy suffers due to poor footwork, and it must be fixed in order for him to play at a high level. It’s tough to see him succeeding right away because he was so easily flustered by pressure at Fresno State and he’s sure to see even more in the NFL—especially if he’s drafted into a bad situation. But he has the raw tools that you can’t teach, and is definitely a candidate to emerge as the best quarterback from this class.