Pro Day Tour Prospect of Day: Carden

We take a deep look at East Carolina's record-setting quarterback, Shane Carden, complete with the NFL's scouting report. Carden worked out for teams on Thursday.

Based on where the Green Bay Packers deployed their scouts, we present our Prospect of the Day, featuring career notes and a large segment of his official NFL scouting report, courtesy of the NFL’s longtime head scout and frequent Packer Report contributor Dave-Te’ Thomas.

ECU QB Shane Carden

CAREER NOTES

— Having joined the East Carolina program in 2010, it was not until the 2012 season that Carden lined up behind center as the Pirates’ starting quarterback, but in three years at the helm, he completed an impressive 1,052-of-1,579 passes (66.62%) for 11,991 yards, 86 touchdowns and 30 interceptions…Carried the ball 222 times for 466 yards (2.10 ypc) and 23 more scores, as he contributed 12,244 yards in total offense via 1,850 plays, averaging 313.95 yards per game while starting 37-of-39 contests…Was responsible for a total of 109 touchdowns…Also appeared in one game as a receiver to make his college debut in 2011, as he’s caught two passes for 14 yards and a touchdown.

— Among active Football Bowl Subdivision players, Carden holds the fourth spots for most pass completions (1,052), pass completions per game (26.98), yards passing (11,991), yards passing per game (307.46) and touchdowns responsible for (110). Also placed fifth with an average of 313.95 total yards per game and with 1,579 attempted passes, nailing sixth place with 12,244 yards in total offense and seventh with a pass completion rate of 66.2 percent.

— Carden became the first Pirate to pass for more than 10,000 yards during a career, as his 11,991 yards topped the previous record of 9,029 yards by David Garrard (1998-2001)…His 1,052 pass completions shattered the old school record of 727 by Dominique Davis (2010-11)…His 1,579 pass attempts obliterated the previous all-time ECU mark of 1,189 by James Pinkney (2003-06)…His 86 touchdown passes broke the old Pirates record of 62 by Davis. Garrard (60) is the only other player in school annals to throw for at least 60 touchdowns.

— As a senior, he was named a semifinalist for the Dave O’Brien National Quarterback Award and first-team all-American Athletic Conference. His record-breaking season saw him lead a unit that led the league and ranked fifth in the nation in total offense (533.0 ypg), along with finishing third in the FBS in passing (371.9 ypg)…The senior quarterback completed 30.15 passes per game, the second-best figure in the major-college ranks, ranking 11th in the FBS with 30 touchdown passes and second with a school-record 4,736 yards passing. Had 10 interceptions but scored five times on 47 carries for 289 yards, as his 4,812 yards in total offense set the ECU annual record and his average gain of 370.15 yards per game was second-best in the nation. Threw for at least 300 yards a school record 10 times, with six of those contests topping 400.

— As a junior, Carden was named Conference USA’s Most Valuable Player as he paced a Pirates squad that finished eighth in the nation in scoring (40.2 ppg), 11th in passing (328.1 ypg) and 25th in total offense (468.2 ypg). He ranked second in the nation and set the ECU record for pass completion percentage of .7049, as he ranked fifth in the nation with an average of 29.77 completed passes per game…He led the league with a pass efficiency rating of 150.01 and his 33 touchdown tosses ranked second in C-USA and ninth in the country. He was picked off 10 times but ran for 10 touchdowns. Carden accounted for 44 of the Pirates' 65 offensive touchdowns (33 passing, 10 rushing, one receiving).

INJURY REPORT

No major injuries reported, but did fracture his wrist during his high school freshman year as a member of Episcopal High’s junior varsity.

SCOUTING COMBINE

Height: 6-foot-1 7/8. Weight: 218.

4.94 in the 40-yard dash…1.75 10-yard dash…2.88 20-yard dash…4.45 20-yard shuttle…7.19 three-cone drill…29 1/2-inch vertical jump…8’-08” broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 18 times…33 1/4-inch arm length…9 3/4-inch hands…79 1/8-inch wingspan.

SCOUTING ANALYSIS

When you have a receiver with the elite athleticism that Josh Hardy possesses, a quarter-back can look really good airing the ball out on Saturdays. Now, Carden knows that the 2015 postseason leading up to the draft is where he needs to show NFL QB coaches that crave the “big man in the pocket” that while he is not tall in stature, he can stand tall under pressure.

Extremely accurate, his pass completion percentage of .673 combined as a sophomore and junior is the second-best in Conference USA history, ranking third in league annals with a 147.3 pass efficiency rating. He is the first quarterback in school history to both pass for over 4,000 yards in multiple seasons and eclipse 3,000 in three-straight years. He is also the first QB in school history to pass for over 10,000 yards in a career (11,557).

Carden has good arm strength, along with a quick release that allows him to make all of his throws in the short-to-intermediate areas. He possesses the footwork, balance and quickness to slide and avoid the pass rush, but will not win many foot races in the open field, despite scoring 23 times on the ground during his career.

The Pirate is quick dropping back from the line of scrimmage to his set point, displaying good coordination on the move and the body control to move around the pocket with ease. With teams like New Orleans and San Diego starting to show age at quarterback, Carden could be a nice pick-up to groom in the mid-to-late round area. However, he’s played mostly from the shotgun formation during his days at ECU. He also has just three years experience as a college quarterback, playing wide receiver as a freshman.

Carden displays good coordination on the move and the body control to move around the pocket with ease, but even with his success finding the end zone (23 touchdowns as a ball carrier), he is not considered a valid running threat. He has only marginal field speed (timed between 4.94-to-5.01) and is not good at recognizing back-side pressure and has had serious issues protecting the ball when pressured (90 sacks and 14 fumbles the last three years, with five of those turnovers turning into opposing scores).

The ECU senior has the body control to slide in the pocket and when he keeps his feet under him, displays the ability to throw on the move. It is hard to judge how well he will be driving back from center, as he was utilized strictly in the shotgun during his college career, but in post-season workouts, he showed he had enough quickness to get good depth in his pass drop (3-5 step) and adequate upper and lower body mechanics.

Carden does need to show better judgment, as his problems occur when he fails to react quick enough to pocket pressure. He is not good at stepping up and away from pocket pressure to buy time so his target can get open. He does tend to force the ball into traffic and has yet to call his own game, as he usually got most of his pre-snap reads and decisions from the coaches on the sidelines.

Even with 23 touchdown runs in three years, Carden is not considered a player who can be creative running with the ball. I like his toughness, as he is willing to take a sack rather than throw the ball up for grabs. He has developed enough field vision that he no longer spends a lot of time hanging on to his primary targets, as he does a nice job of distributing the ball and utilizing all of his targets. He might miss a read every now and then, but has a short memory and will not let one play affect the way he performs the rest of the game. He is quick picking up coverage, but needs to show he has the ability to read on the pre-snap.

What you have to like about Carden is his passion for the game. He’s a solid student with no off the field issues and a tough competitor – you know the type – like Phil Sims, that “I refuse to lose” mentality that has seen him mature into a leadership role, as all of his teammates swear by him and know he has complete control in the huddle.

Whoever drafts Carden realizes he will come from a shotgun heavy spread-formation offense that feeds him a lot of pre-snap reads from the sideline. He has very good natural football intelligence. He has shows he can make progression reads and effectively checks down to second and third targets. He consistently looks off the safeties and does not telegraph many of his throws.

Where Carden gets into trouble is poor recognition of pocket pressure and he does have to do a better job of keeping his head down the field when scrambling. He has improved as a decision maker but still makes some questionable decisions throwing into traffic. As good as he can be as a rhythm passer, the Pirate can be just as streaky in this area.

Completing 66.62% of your passes and you recognize that Carden’s accuracy is good, but he would be even better if he was to improve with some small tweaks to his footwork, as he tends to throw off his back foot too often. He also gets his back foot “stuck in cement” at times, which prevents him from facing his target and throwing with good balance.


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