Derek Carr after no first-round draft call: 'This doesn't change anything'

The Fresno BeeMay 8, 2014 

— The kids were first to give up on the Derek Carr draft party.

About an hour into the NFL draft's opening round Thursday, some children came out of the Carr palace to ride bikes, run in circles and shriek for joy in the driveway. As sunset approached, a little boy asked: "Has Derek gone anywhere yet?"

Not Thursday, he didn't.

Carr's hopes of being drafted in the first round never materialized, with his phone never ringing and his name never getting called among the first 32 players selected.

The former Fresno State quarterback wanted to bea first-round draft pick, just like his older brother David -- the No. 1 overall pick of the 2002 draft out of Fresno State. The next consolation prize on the list: perhaps be the first quarterback, if not the first player, taken when the second round begins Friday.

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The Houston Texans are officially on the clock, four spots ahead of the Oakland Raiders.

"It wasn't difficult for me," Carr said outside the gates lining this southwest Bakersfield community. "If this is the route that it goes, then so be it."

Carr put his best, albeit unsmiling face, forward as he talked about living to be drafted another day. The somber faces of the exiting guests better told the after-party mood, as his dress-casual company went to their cars with plates of leftover tacos and long faces.

"This doesn't change anything for me," Carr said. "You just want your name to be called, whenever it is."

So what went so wrong for one of the top-four rated quarterbacks in the draft? After all, ESPN liked his first-round chances enough to set up a camera crew for a live shot in the living room, where he was surrounded by at least 70 friends and relatives.

When the Jaguars took Central Florida's Blake Bortles with the No. 3 overall pick, the stage was set for a run on quarterbacks. All Carr needed was for former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel to get picked to clear the way for him and/or Teddy Bridgewater to get called.

Only, Manziel wasn't getting picked. The celebrity quarterback fell out of the top 10, shoving the quarterback class beneath him. Then, Manziel fell out of the top 20, flying past the tempted Dallas Cowboys.

Manziel didn't get taken until No. 22, when the Browns traded up four spots to pick him. Of course, the Browns were expected by some to make that trade-up to nab Carr -- but that was assuming Manziel would be long gone.

When Manziel was still there, the Browns took him over Carr -- just as the quarterback-needy Raiders, Vikings, Titans and Cardinals had passed earlier.

The Vikings traded into the 32nd and final pick of the first round. They spent a day with Carr in Fresno, and offensive coordinator Norv Turner raved about his Pro Day workout.

This was Carr's last chance, and Minnesota indeed took a quarterback. It was Bridgewater. The Thursday night party just became a weekender at the Carr house.

"This is nothing new to me," said Carr, who wasn't highly recruited out of high school, either. "I'm still going to be blessed to play for an NFL team. I'm going to be the same guy. ... My phone's been going crazy. Whoever takes me is going to get everything I have."

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

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