If the draft were today, Derek Carr would be the second QB taken off the board.
Carr has put up gaudy numbers this season, passing for 4,467 yards, 45 TD's and 5 INT's through 11 games. Carr leads the NCAA in passing yards, passing touchdowns, and passing yards per game and is top 5 in nearly every other passing statistic imaginable this season. He's led the Fresno State Bulldogs to a #24 BCS rank and a 10-1 season thus far, losing only to the David Fales-led San Jose State Trojans Spartans.
Carr, the younger brother of former number one overall NFL draft pick David Carr, appears to possess all the same qualities as his older brother and then some.
Carr has an NFL caliber arm, average NFL measurables, and the best stat line in all of college. However, the Fresno State Bulldogs also possess one of the weakest schedules in all of college football. Their toughest game of the season may have been against San Jose State, their only loss of the season. That loss doesn't fall on Carr (38-50, 519 yards, 6 TD, 1 INT, 198.8 rating) as much as it falls on the 23rd-ranked Fresno State defense.
With all there is to like about Carr, there is an equal amount to dislike, as well.
For instance, Carr burst onto the scene last year after an underwhelming sophomore season. Carr went from a 3,500 yd/ 26 TD/ 9 INT stat line one season to 4,100 yds/ 41 TD/ 7 INT the next. Some would say this is an example of a quarterback breaking out of his shell. Others would say that it's just a fluke.
I believe it has more to do with the hiring of Dave Schramm as Offensive Coordinator. Schramm brought with him the "quick pass, get your playmakers into space" philosophy. Under Schramm, Carr's passing attempts and completion percentage instantly shot up.
Fresno State's offense relies heavily on 3-4 WR sets, quick screens, drags, and crosses. These "high percentage" plays inflate Carr's numbers and make him look better than he really is, as he's merely dumping the ball off to a receiver and having him do the work. Many of Carr's highlight videos on YouTube could just as well be highlight videos of Davante Adams.
Against Nevada, for example, Fresno State ran more than 10 WR/HB screens in the first half alone.
Carr tends to telegraph his throws when lined up in the shotgun. Carr naturally sets up with his left foot slightly behind his right. However, on quick throws to his blindside, Carr will sometimes line up staggered, with his left foot much further back. This enables Carr to quickly deliver the ball the moment he receives the snap, without having to open up his shoulders and turn. Whether it's unintentional or he's coached to do so, it is a slight tell.
For being a redshirt senior, Carr's footwork is slightly behind where it should be. Some worry that it's taken him far too long to reach the level he's at.
Carr's arm strength isn't a question but, over the last two years, Carr hasn't been asked to attempt nearly as many NFL caliber throws as scouts would like. The system he's in, while helping him post absolutely ridiculous numbers, has also been a detriment to his development as an NFL quarterback.
The biggest concern regarding Carr is what goes on in between his ears. Carr suffers from the same syndrome that many other first round busts suffered from (including his brother, David): mechanical breakdown in the face of pressure. When faced with a blitz, Carr tends to drop the ball below his shoulders and take his eyes off his downfield reads.
-Ideal height for an NFL quarterback
-NFL caliber arm strength
-Very accustomed to throwing touchdown passes
-High completion percentage throughout his entire career
-Great physical attributes
-Operates fast-paced offense
-Mechanical breakdown when facing pressure
-Below average footwork
-Possibly the product of a non-compatible NFL system
-Hasn't faced tough competition
-Rarely, if ever, under center
-Below average at reading progressions
David Carr's brain + Brandon Weeden's arm + Graham Harells' scheme+ Andrew Luck's mobility+ Tony Romo's competition level