Derek Carr (4) throws a pass against the Southern California Trojans in the Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Carr becoming a more likely option for Cleveland Browns?

Fresno State Bulldogs product Derek Carr is my second-ranked quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft class, as I believe he has the physical and mental tools to be a franchise quarterback in this league. He has issues with his footwork, but so does Blake Bortles. If he can throw from a more solid base, then his velocity and downfield arm would be even more impressive. More importantly, the ball won’t sail on him as often, as that’s one negative thing I’ve noticed from Carr when watching his tape closely. A gentle flick of the arm produces a strong throw from his howitzer, but he’s also more prone to throwing up an egg due to the lack of a strong base and driving torso action (he isn’t the only quarterback who would do well to drive the ball more).

I usually mock Teddy Bridgewater (my top passer) to the Houston Texans with the first overall pick, and then I give the Cleveland Browns Derek Carr. ESPN’s Ashley Fox reports that there is a “growing sentiment around the league” that the Browns could take Carr with the fourth overall pick, and my takeaway from this nugget is that the chances of the Browns picking Carr are more likely.

I’m not surprised at all by this, since I’ve viewed Carr as their best option for a couple of months now, especially after doing some heavy film study on his ability to make reads and accurate throws on intermediate passes to all sides of the field, as well as his ability to manage plays in the red zone and on third downs. Carr has elite intangibles and leadership qualities which allow him to master situational football, and he made everyone on Fresno State look better. Davante Adams’s frame and ball skills would bail him out at times, but Carr also knew where to place the ball on the sideline so that Adams would get to it. Johnny Manziel threw an awful lot of jump balls to Mike Evans, but Carr’s placement on those types of throws looked more methodical.

Carr has the strongest arm in the class, and his issues can be fixed with solid coaching. He put the Bulldogs on his back last season, and there’s little doubt in my mind that Carr has the arm strength, accuracy, and decision-making to be a franchise QB, and he’s also a fast and athletic player. With better footwork and development as he transitions to much more difficult opponents, Carr  could be “the guy” for the Browns. Kyle Shanahan and Dowell Loggains are two excellent coaches, so the support system is certainly there for Carr to succeed.

I am a firm believer in him as the best option for the Browns if Bridgewater doesn’t fall past the first three picks, and I would strongly advise against the Browns waiting until the 26th or 35th pick to take a QB; there are no guarantees, and they can’t bank on Carr or any other QB falling if they believe he is the guy. Now if they view Aaron Murray or Jimmy Garoppolo as the answer, then they can wait. But  I don’t view either of them as being better than the “big four” quarterbacks in this class. The Browns have hinted at a potential curveball, and their draft strategy is anyone’s guess. Right now, though, I think Carr is the favorite.

Tags: Cleveland Browns Derek Carr Football Fresno State Bulldogs NFL Draft

  • 5150dogfan

    Depending on what the Texans do, the draft could go a few different directions……But whatever the Texans do I think your hitting it on the head here…….These teams are really starting to zero in on Film of these QB’s and doing the fine tuning it takes to evaluate players…….

    Look at how many misconceptions there has been about Carr …..Things like he cant throw the deep ball, he never played in a pro set, hes not very athletic, his competition level (when he played almost identical SOS to BW and Bortles) etc……

    Well after doing a little research they’re all finding out he has a Cannon Arm throws a very solid deep ball, he played for Pat Hill for 3 year in a pro set, and the combine opened some eyes on being ahletic, etc…….
    Here’s another one for ya, I was wondering how long it would be before this became chatter and its out there today in an article……..

    With Carr, the NFL teams are able to see him in the Spread O as well the Pro Set,now they are looking at the 2011 film as well a 2012 and 2013, he gives them the ability to see how he reacted in both senarios……..There is no “I wander” or “Guessing” they know he has become a much better passer over the last few seasons, but by looking at the 2011 film can see he was very good under center as well………

    Watch for Carr to climb in the eyes of many teams as the evaluation process gets deeper and deeper…….

    BTW-Intersting to note Bradley and Co have been awfully quiet about Carr, and depsite sayiney woulnt attend prodays for guys they saw athe senior bowl, Fisch was at the Fresno Pro Day……….

    Could they be using Carrs performance at the senior bowl as a barometer for the others?????? And if Carr pencils out the best, does he have a shot at #3??????

    Despite the talking heads saying he’ll go in the second or late first, the teams know, there watching film, if Clev doesn’t take him, the Raiders, Tampa, Vikes, Tenn., and then if he is still around no way Arizona doesnt pick him up…….Bottom line is if Clowney goes number one, Carr could be on the Jags short list….No way Gus lets Clowney slip by if hes still there…

    • Joe Soriano

      It bothers me to no end when people say, “He can’t play in a pro-style offense”. Because not only did they not watch him in 2011, but they also assume that just because a player didn’t play in a pro-style offense he can’t modify his game to that style of an O with coaching and time. Carr’s game transcends scheme, especially since we’ve seen him succeed in a pro-style scheme. I’ve always maintained that the Bulldogs spread attack didn’t do Carr any favors, but it did help hide some of the errors his skill position players made. When I watch Carr on film, the only pass-catcher who stands out to me is Davante Adams. Does Carr make his teammates better? Absolutely. I think the questions of his ability to play under pressure are exaggerated, because he had a very poor offensive line and rarely ever had anyone outside of the five OLs blocking for him. He needs to work on his footwork and ability under pressure, but everything’s there for him.

      As I was writing this post I was thinking, “Should I have the Jacksonville Jaguars taking him in my next mock draft?” I’ll probably still give them Jadeveon Clowney, but Carr’s becoming a more enticing option.

      Carr wasn’t really that good at the Senior Bowl, he was just better than everyone else. Aside from him, only David Fales was good at the Senior Bowl, and Fales is another guy I like.

      One key thing to remember is that the eval process is 95% over by the time a player’s season ends, because scouting is a year-round process. This is the time for fine-tuning, but I completely agree with you; Carr’s stock is only going up during this fine-tuning process.

  • glennantz

    I still say the Browns had better take a QB in there 4th pick. Remember the fan that has the Browns jersey with all the QB names on it. This is how the average Browns fan feels. The average fan knows that for years the Browns have had a big problem with finding a quarter back. Now they have a chance to maybe get a good one. No guarantees of coarse, he could bomb out, but if the Browns do not even try one, the fans will be greatly disappointed. You never know what is going to happen, but they have to try.

    • Joe Soriano

      I completely agree with you. QB is by far their biggest need, and it isn’t even close at this point. If they don’t pay a premium price for a QB, then they aren’t putting their franchise in the best position to succeed.