If Johnny Manziel is the wild card of the quarterback class, then Derek Carr could be the next highest trump. Analysts seem to be all over the board on him, too.
Some believe Manziel is the best player they have scouted among the 2014 NFL Draft prospects. Others are scared that he just won't fit an NFL offense, or that his style of play will have him sidelined too often with injury.
With Carr, the public assessments seem to be just as wide. Some believe Carr is worthy of selection in the middle of the first round. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay has a fourth-round grade on him.
While we don't know the level of first-hand scouting that McShay does, we do know that the director of the Senior Bowl, Phil Savage, had plenty of interaction with Carr.
"Derek has approached this whole procedure with the right attitude. As a younger brother of a former No. 1 pick (David Carr) who was not able to reach that level of expectation, I think he understands that this is a cold business," Savage said. "To me, he's done all the right things from an intangible standpoint, leadership standpoint. He does have a good arm."
Carr made himself available at the Senior Bowl, doing endless interviews with media and team personnel. He said he learned a valuable lesson from his older brother David, who was the No. 1 overall pick of the Houston Texans: ignore the criticism and ignore the praise.
Derek Carr got plenty of both while leading the Fresno State Bulldogs. His passing yardage (5,083) and touchdowns (50) in 2013 were higher than any of the other top quarterbacks, and his completion percentage and interception percentage was right with the likes of Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel.
"Prior to the last two years, he played in a traditional, pro-style system under Pat Hill," said Savage, formerly an NFL scout and general manager. "The last two years, he's been in more of a spread and throwing the ball laterally and those sorts of things. I thought he had a good week at the Senior Bowl."
Carr looked confident and comfortable throughout Senior Bowl week and the NFL Scouting Combine. The Vikings interviewed him at the Senior Bowl and offensive coordinator Norv Turner attended his pro day last week, during which the quarterback battled illness and still had a strong showing.
"Obviously, he was very impressive today," Turner told the Associated Press. "He came out and showed he has a strong arm, very accurate, he made all the throws. He had a heck of a workout."
Savage said he believes NFL teams have Carr valued higher than many believe.
"In my estimation, it seems like the outside influences put these three junior quarterbacks (Manziel, Bortles and Bridgewater) right at the top of the draft and everybody else at the bottom of the first or second or third round," Savage said. "In reality, I think the teams have it a lot closer than what the public would think. I don't think that there's nearly as much gap between the Big Three juniors and Derek Carr or A.J. McCarron or Jimmy Garoppolo or maybe even a couple of others."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Carr valued higher than many believe?
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