David White: With NFL draft finally here, Derek Carr just wants 'to go to work'

The Fresno BeeMay 7, 2014 

Derek Carr isn't going to be drafted by ESPN central casting. He isn't going to join the NFL Network set in a blockbuster sign-and-trade.

So, flush everything you've heard their draft analysts say about the former Fresno State quarterback -- all the static about how Carr will be a top-10 star, or a fourth-round afterthought.

None of those talking heads in Windsor knots own a pick in Thursday's first round of the NFL Draft. Twenty-eight NFL teams, however, do. What they've got to say is all that matters.

"I'm tired of the all the talking," Carr said. "I just want to go to work."

Yeah, but there remain a few things still to be said -- namely, the names of the first 32 players drafted.

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A sampling of front-office types, coaches and scouts from four different NFL teams generally agree that Carr will be one of them, most likely somewhere in the 20s.

Worst-case scenario, they say, he slides early into Friday's second round, and only if all the other top quarterbacks freefall with him. Either way, it only takes one team to have a crush on Carr -- and at least one-third of the league is quarterback-shopping at the corner store for a franchise player.

"He does a lot of good things," said one NFL general manager -- everyone interviewed did so anonymously, because tipping draft strategy is punishable by unemployment in most NFL parts.

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"He has plenty of arm strength, spins the ball well, shows great command of the offense. The ball comes quick out of his hand. Quick with his feet, quick with his arm. He can change (throwing) platforms, arm angle. He makes all the throws you want to see."

But Carr ran a spread offense full of bubble screens. That can't possibly work in the NFL, we read in Internet fan forums, so it must be true.

"You look at the film of what he did with (former Fresno State coach) Pat Hill, he ran a pro offense, enjoyed some success, not a lot of these guys have that type of experience coming out of college," the general manager said, making sure his name is neither spelled right nor spelled at all.

"Besides, more and more, you're seeing college-type schemes come to the NFL. That's not as big of a concern as maybe it used to be."

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But Carr struggled in his final college game against USC, which keeps coming up on sports-talk radio debates, so who can argue with that?

"You watch everything he put on tape over the years, and he played at an extremely high level," said a longtime NFC offensive coordinator. "He's impressive. He works hard at it. He has a good understanding of the game. He's played a lot -- and all those things help."

But his brother is David Carr, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2002 NFL Draft, so David's career is scaring teams away because a recent ESPN article said so, that's why.

"You can tell he's learned so much from his brother," an AFC scout said. "He grew up around the NFL -- he understands how it works. Very impressed."

Maybe he goes to Cleveland, or Oakland, or Tennessee, or wherever. One of those teams is going to decide his upside outweighs any concerns about his genetics or hand size or deep-ball accuracy or whatever.

This much is certain: You won't hear a single general manager say they passed on Carr because of what some network broadcaster thought about his pocket presence under pressure.

As Carr put it: "Let's just play some football."

The columnist can be reached at bydw@sbcglobal.net and on Twitter @bydavidwhite.

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