Derek Carr was nearly the consensus top quarterback of the six senior quarterbacks at the recent Senior Bowl, playing on the South Team coached by the Jaguars staff.
Carr also finished the 2013 season with a 68.9% completion percentage, 5,083 passing yards, and a +42 TD/INT count,
Where Derek Carr Wins
What Carr does best is the willingness and efficiency when testing defenses vertically. He displays really impressive velocity control on deep shots, as he knows when he has to fit it in a tight window or throw it with touch to hit his wide receiver in stride. His placement deep can be a bit inconsistent from game to game, but as a whole his wide receivers rarely had to stop their stride for the ball. There were times when he set his feet that he could make the ball travel 65-70 yards in the air.
The appeal with Carr at this point is his natural physical tools. In terms of pure "arm talent" He would probably be in the top 10 or so as soon as he enters the NFL. He can fit the ball in any passing window at any level of the field.
However... being able to do it and consistently doing it are two different things, but I think he has the ability to do it nonetheless.
Carr's arm is strong enough to the point where he can throw from any throwing platform, or throw with sloppy footwork, and his velocity does suffer.
Carr is also a very good athlete for his size and is not confined to only playing in the pocket. He reportedly ran a 4.56 40 in 2012 according to Fresno's website, and that type of athleticism shows on the field. He is a smooth runner in the open field with good acceleration, and an offensive coordinator could get creative with him. He struggled early in the 2013 season with accuracy while throwing on the move, but he did show improvements of the course of the year in that regard.
Where Derek Carr needs to improve
Carr's lower body mechanics are often simply a mess. He has a strong enough arm to the point where it doesn't affect him velocity wise, but it can lead to some very errant passes. He has a tendency to fly open his hips to the line of scrimmage as he throws, which makes the actual landing of his pass unpredictable to say the least. He also has a bad habit of throwing off his back foot often, leading to sailed passes and overthrows.
The biggest issue I have with Carr's lower body is the fact that a lot of times he seems out of sync with the route combinations on a given play, forcing him to hurry himself up and leading to sloppy feet, which obviously leads to poor passes. He needs to slow himself down and hone his craft.
Carr's accuracy as a whole is very inconsistent, primarily in the intermediate areas of the field. This can be tied to his footwork, as among other things. Carr is quick through his reads but at times seems a tick slow actually pulling the trigger, leading to passes thrown behind his WR's. Carr comes from an offense with a very limited number of routes (Almost exclusively 9's, screen, slants, and fades) and threw an alarming number of passes behind the line of scrimmage. He has the tools for a Pro O, but needs to show he can transition from a limited College one.
Finally, the biggest issue many seem to have with Carr, how he deals with a muddied pocket and pressure in his face. A lot compare Carr to Blaine Gabbert in terms of how he handles the pass rush, but I do not see that. There are plenty of times when Carr will stand tough in the pocket willing to absorb hits as he releases the ball, and I do not think he is scared of the rush.
I do think he is uncomfortable dealing in tight spaces though, and I do think he needs drastic improvement in his movement in the pocket amid blitzes and interior pressure. He shows the ability to step up in the pocket amid edge pressure, but does not show the ability to avoid the interior rush by stepping laterally in the pocket. With pressure in his face, he can drop his eyes and start fading backwards in the pocket to make space for himself. His movements against interior pressure is rarely synchronized or calm.
A lot will fall in love with Carr due to his upper echelon physical gifts. His blend of size, arm strength, and athleticism is rarely found in quarterback prospects and he will likely be highly regarded because of it. Me myself, I am not buying into the talk that he is deserving of a top 10 pick because he just lacks too many of the vital aspects a quarterback requires, specifically accuracy and ability to handle tight spaces. A good way to explain my issues with Carr can be seen in these tweets
Grade: 6.75 - Day two pick