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Red Birds NFL Draft Preview: Derek Carr, Quarterback

May 5th, 2014 at 4:52 AM
By Steve Smith

'Cardinals coming at me' photo (c) 2013, Jeffrey Beall - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
The 2014 NFL Draft is just days away now. Will the Arizona Cardinals be looking to the future in the first round?

The Red Birds have a fine quarterback in Carson Palmer but he is 34 now so the Cards may need to start planning for his replacement.

Let's take a look at a player they may select with the 20th overall pick: QB Derek Carr of Fresno State. Would this be a surprise selection?

Here is his updated scouting profile via nfl.com:

Strengths: Very athletic with very good feet — can roll the pocket, evade the rush or escape when pocket crumbles. Terrific arm talent — releases from the ear and can make all the throws. Quick-armed with wrist snap. Can alter his platform and throw on the move or off his back foot. Throws come out on time and accurately. Drills short-to-intermediate throws and flashes touch. Likes to play and it shows. Sells out to make a play. Record-breaking production. Adapted to coaching/system change and receiver turnover. Improved ball security — fumbled only once as a senior compared to 12 times the previous two seasons. Desirable intangibles for the position — advanced maturity, leadership and intelligence. Shows poise and moxie. On-field general who commands the huddle. Passionate about the game and works at his craft. Three-time captain.

Weaknesses: Lacks ideal height and has relatively small hands. Bulk is just adequate. Could stand to improve as a deep passer. At times tries to do too much and forces some throws. Occasionally throws off balance unnecessarily and sails some throws. Operated out of the shotgun and pistol and made a lot short/lateral throws and half-field reads. Production is inflated by spread offense and porous Mountain West Conference defenses — nine 2013 opponents (excluding an FCS opponent) ranked between 81st and 125th nationally in scoring defense and/or passing defense. Had his worst game in the Las Vegas Bowl against USC.

Bottom Line Carr is an athletic, tough, instinctive, strong-armed, highly competitive quarterback who will impress in workouts, interviews and on the board. Elevated the Fresno State program and profiles like a gunslinger, though he’d be better served in the long run honing his game-management skills. Will be a starter sooner rather than later and the degree to which he’s able to make those around him better will determine his ceiling.

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Tags: Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, Derek Carr, Football, NFL

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