Derek Carr is a challenging prospect to figure out. Some of the other QB prospects are a little easier to get a read on. You can see Teddy Bridgewater's polish and ability consistently. You can see the limitations in AJ McCarron's game. But Carr? He can be so good and so bad in the span of mere minutes. Let's take a quick look.
Everyone knows about his arm strength. He can put the ball anywhere on the field, with ease. What stood out more is that his deep ball accuracy is very good as well. Fresno State's offense is predicated on a lot of short and intermediate throws. This limited Carr's deep ball opportunities but when he did sling it, he made sure to put it on the money more often than not. Continuing with physical traits, Carr also is surprisingly mobile. He can feel pressure in the pocket, step up to avoid the hit and take off if needed. Most impressive is that he also keeps his eyes downfield when on the move.
There are strengths and weaknesses to Fresno's offense. Since this is the 'good' section, it should be noted that he operated exclusively out of shotgun. If Ken Whisenhunt wants to create an offense featuring that alignment frequently, than Derek Carr is a prime candidate. He also demonstrated an ability to make quick reads and throws. When he spotted single coverage he would attack (more below).
First, let's start off with the things that are in both this and the above category. We know he can make the quick throws. The tough part is that since he threw so many short throws, its hard to gauge how consistent he'll be when not in that offense. Those quick-hitters also greatly inflated a completion percentage that finished at 68.9%. It will certainly see a decrease once in the big league, but just how low will it drop? His experience in shotgun was also a positive. Conversely, his inexperience under center needs to be listed in the con column. That is a huge change for a young quarterback.
Regarding his instinct to attack single coverage, it is hard to tell whether he is just following the fast reads of the Fresno offense. There were a few passes that should not have been thrown, but it seemed that he threw them because that was what he was supposed to do. They seemed like mindless throws. Without more knowledge of their offense, this will have to be chalked up as speculation on my part.
The "biggest bad" is his footwork. Its weak, sometimes even nonexistent. Analyzing footwork isn't a strength of mine, but Carr has quite a bit of work to do on it. His head and his feet aren't in sync sometimes. Rather than set his feet, he also will throw off his back foot frequently.
When Carr is pressured, the mechanics can break down sometimes. The footwork problem is compounded with linemen flying around him. Worse yet, he'll throw off-balance in those instances. These issues will be magnified once the competition is stronger.
The best way to describe Derek Carr is that he's a talented QB that will need a lot of work. He will face challenges that some of the other quarterbacks won't, simply because of the offense he worked in. Some team is going to fall in love with him and draft him high - will it be the Titans? If they want him they'll probably have to take him at the 11th pick and that doesn't make much sense. Selecting a project quarterback in the first when you already have a young quarterback isn't particularly great asset management. Still, there is some evidence to see why teams are reportedly high on Derek Carr.
What do you think, MCM? Take a look at the videos below, courtesy of Draft Breakdown: