The reality seems to be setting in that the Arizona Cardinals are, in fact, interested in some of the quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft class.
While they have met publically with LSU’s Zach Mettenberger at the combine and Logan Thomas at a workout at Virginia Tech, they privately have had eyes on other quarterbacks in this crop, including Fresno State’s Derek Carr.
The attraction to Carr is understandable. He’s got tremendous raw talent but he lacks the typical size of a Bruce Arians quarterback.
Monday, The Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta gave fans a unique insight into the quarterback and the pre-draft process, but what about the player?
Fresno State Bulldogs
6-2 ¾, 214 pounds
• Drives the ball outside the numbers with ease on intermediate and deep routes.
• Excellent mobility in and out of the pocket and can extend plays with his feet.
• Throws a very catchable ball with good zip.
• Incredible velocity and arm strength. Has the ability to push the ball down the field and throw the entire route tree.
• Trusts his receivers to make plays down the field.
• Shows adequate pocket awareness and the ability to climb the pocket and drive the ball to his receivers.
• Throws into tight windows with great effectiveness.
• Improved every year while at Fresno State and was the unquestioned leader of his team.
• Struggles under pressure, forces the ball too often.
• Made too many simple reads in his Fresno State offense.
• Leaves the pocket early at times when he feels pressure.
• Throws to receivers, not spots, and doesn’t always seem comfortable throwing into coverage.
• Worked out of the shotgun two of the last three years.
• Seemed to throw one too many “medicine balls” over the middle to his receivers.
• Gets beat by the blitz too often.
• Mechanics and footwork are spotty, and need work and time.
Carr is a fearless, risk-taking, gunslinger of a quarterback who has the natural arm to be an exceptional fit in the vertical passing game in any NFL offense.
Carr absolutely has the physical attributes of an NFL quarterback, and when you listen to him talk, he seems to have it upstairs as well, but there are concerns.
Can he stare down the barrel of a rush and deliver the ball consistently?
Will he clean up his footwork and delivery enough to be able to get the ball down the field?
Carr needs time to figure out the intricacies to the NFL game, but if he’s going to be a success, he will have to marinate and learn.
There’s little doubt that the Cardinals see Derek Carr’s natural arm, ability to spin the ball and athletic ability in and out of the pocket, and see the prototypical Bruce Arians quarterback.
He’s not nearly big enough compared to what Arians normally likes at quarterback though, as you could call his frame wispy and his height less than ideal, but those are flaws that can be overlooked if he brings enough elsewhere.
With the ability to sit and learn in year one, maybe year two as well, Carr would be able to fine tune the pieces of his game that are problematic.
Carr has Kevin Kolb-like pocket tendencies, as he bails out of clean pockets too often and throws with an unbalanced, off-kilter throwing base, relying on his outstanding arm strength to get balls to his receivers in tight coverage.
He’s coming from a terrible offensive scheme at Fresno State, where he threw the ball less than five yards down the field an astounding 60 percent of the time, so he’ll have to get used to getting deeper in his drops, waiting longer for his receivers and throwing them open, not waiting for them to get open.
He’s an option, and fit for the Arizona Cardinals. The question is, would drafting him at No. 20 be too early?