LAS VEGAS – Coming into the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, Derek Carr was considered one of the top prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft, after a 45-20 loss to the 25th-ranked USC Trojans, he looked far from it.
After leading the 20th-ranked Fresno State Bulldogs to an 11-1 record and ranking number one in the FBS in total offense(4,983), passing yards (4,866) and passing touchdowns (48), Carr may have seen his NFL draft stock take a hit in completing 29-of-54 passes for 217 yards. His lack of throwing deep is also sure to cause some concern for teams as he averaged four yards per attempt, down from his season average of 8.02 against a down USC team going through a coaching change.
If Carr played like this against a down—by their standards—Trojans team Saturday evening, how will he play on Sundays?
While passing for two touchdowns in a losing cause against a far superior team in USC, Carr also threw one interception, and failed to make a lasting impression on NFL scouts and executives.
Currently projected to be taken in the top ten in May—and perhaps as high as the third overall pick—Carr showed a lack of touch in throwing downfield in missing receivers, including his top target in Devante Adams—another 2014 draft day prospect.
While Fresno’s wideouts did not help in dropping balls and USC’s defensive line setting the tone, his poor mechanics and an inability to handle pressure in the pocket, will be sure to raise some red flags in teams starved for a franchise quarterback such as Minnesota, Cleveland, Jacksonville and dare this writer say—the Houston Texans, his older brother, David’s old stomping grounds.
One game may not be enough to drop Carr’s draft day stock, as he will still have the Senior Bowl in Mobile and the NFL Scouting Combine to help bring his stock back up—as well as ease concerns over the perception of Derek being the second coming of his older brother—Going forward, Carr will have to look much sharper and more polished before May.