Derek Carr | Quarterback | Senior | Fresno State | 6'3, 210 pounds
2012 Stats: 67.7 completion percentage, 4,104 passing yards, 37 touchdowns, 7 interceptions
Derek Carr is familiar. He shares a body type, skill set and college team with his brother, former No. 1 overall pick David Carr.
The younger Carr has been in the spotlight at Fresno State since arriving on campus because of the legacy his brother left behind. Thus far in his Bulldog career, Carr has not disappointed. In a breakout junior season, Carr threw for over 4,000 yards, 37 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.
While 2013 was a relatively weak class of quarterbacks, Carr chose to come back to school for his senior season and work through some of the flaws in his game. With a solid season he could work his way back towards the top of quarterback rankings and become Fresno State's all-time leading passer.
What he does well
Carr is the prototypical size for an NFL quarterback, standing tall in the pocket with a nice release point. He throws the ball with enough velocity and has the arm strength to make throws to all areas of the field. On multiple occasions during the 2012 season, Carr showed the ability to put touch on his deep passes and enough accuracy and touch to make back shoulder throws down near the goal line.
At Carr's size, his athleticism is impressive. He's comfortable scrambling out of the pocket and making plays on the run. Carr is big enough to take some punishment in the running game and would seem to have the skill set to play some read option in the NFL if asked to do so, though he would be a bit limited in this area. Carr is also an accurate passer when scrambling out of the pocket.
While Carr doesn't excel under pressure, he is able to make throws from a variety of platforms and arm angles. He's a natural when throwing the football and has the arm strength to make up for some mechanical flaws.
What he needs to improve on
While Carr is willing to stand tall in a clean pocket, a lot of things go wrong for him when he is pressured. For starters, Carr doesn't recognize the blitz pre snap and tends to have breakdowns in his mechanics when the pocket isn't clean. Rather than stepping up into the pocket, Carr has a tendency to throw the ball of his back foot while fading away from the rush. He is also guilty of not stepping towards his targets in these instances and his accuracy suffers as a result.
Carr may improve on his ability to handle pressure if he gets more comfortable going through his reads. On most plays, Carr makes a single read and then drops his eyes to look at the rush. He also stares down his receivers too often and throws the ball into crowded areas of the field. He didn't throw a ton of interceptions last season but had quite a few dropped.
Carr is an impressive arm talent with the size and athleticism to be a successful NFL quarterback. The concerns with Carr are all between the ears. He needs to learn how to progress through his reads and keep his eyes downfield in the face of pressure. Given the mechanical breakdowns that occur when he's faced with pressure, Carr won't have a bright NFL future unless he improves that area of his game. In fact, if he continues with those habits, his career could continue to resemble that of his brother, which isn't the ideal path for a quarterback.
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