NFL Draft Prospect Interview – Derek Carr, QB Fresno State


Dec 21, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Fresno State Bulldogs quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws a pass against the Southern California Trojans in the Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In a constant narrative that seems to suggest, there are three top quarterbacksDerek Carr seems to continue to be in the conversation both early and late in the first round, depending on the day and the team.  As the home stretch for the NFL Draft is almost here, we had a brief opportunity to talk after the Cleveland Browns went to work him out at Fresno State.

Peter Smith: Do you think you’re gonna rent or own in Cleveland?

Derek Carr: (Laughs) Ah, man.  I don’t know.  We’ll see.

PS: You had a different set of obstacles this year with what was happening with your son, but how did it feel to play healthy this year?

DC: Oh, man.  It was great.  It was actually nice to be healthy.  You know, it was definitely a changeup from the year before.  It was nice to be able to show what I could do when I was healthy.

PS: What do you learn from a game like San Diego State?  They had two weeks and really came out prepared.

DC: They came out in the first half, they had a different little scheme they were running, but once we figured it out, after a couple series, we came out in the second half and got after them pretty good.  You know, it was just one of those things where our coaches, our players made great adjustments.  It showed in the second half.

PS: Most frustrating part of the USC game?  Playing hurt with the separated shoulder or how you played?

DC: Probably that I was hurt, because we’re two throws away from a 300 yard, 4 touchdown game and then no one says anything about that game.  People are going to say what they want.  I’m tired of hearing about that game, because it’s literally two plays away from being a totally different conversation.

PS: After that incredible first half against San Jose State and that second half gets going, are you pressing or are you trying to keep up with the pace?

DC: No.  Honestly, even in the first half, we’re just trying to come out and execute at the highest level we can.  As an offense, you’re just trying to put the ball in the end zone, you know?  You don’t think about other things.  You don’t think about what they are doing on offense and what other teams are doing.  You just try and come out and still try to execute each play.  And they came out and changed their coverages up; they stopped playing man coverage in the second half and tried to keep everything in front of them.

PS: Has (David Carr)’s role changed for you as this process has gone forth?’

DC: Yea, yea. No doubt.  He’s definitely been coaching me and getting me ready for the Senior Bowl, the combine and the pro day and those things.  He’s been doing those things and at the same time, he’s still getting himself ready for the season and get ready to play.  So it’s been good for us though to work out together.

PS: Does he ever get tired of you and want to go work with your distant and substantially tanner cousin, Myles (Carr)?

DC: (Laughs) No.  He doesn’t get too frustrated with me.  We get along pretty good.

PS: With everything that happened this year, how are you better for everything you’ve gone through?

DC: Oh, man.  I know how to handle adversity.  I’m very mature for my age.  I’ve been able to produce and still being pretty successful while going through adversity.  That’s one thing I’ve learned.  Just trust in God and he’s gonna get you through everything.

PS: Going back to watching you at the Senior Bowl, it seemed like you were really focusing on your footwork.  Is it at that point where it’s muscle memory?

DC: Oh yea.  Well, you know it gets better every day; you try and get better.  There’s always things to work on, which is good.  It’s a great thing about this game, because you’re never going to be great at everything.    You gotta always continue to work to get better.  It was nice to get started working on it.  Now, it’s getting to the point where we have it pretty nailed down.

PS: Do you think your wife has a new found appreciation for what your receivers go through?

DC: Absolutely (Laughs).  It was only about ten throws in and she was done with that.

PS: Now that the checklist of events is sort of done, the Senior Bowl, combine, pro day, how difficult is it now that it is more or less a waiting game?

DC: Now, you’re just working out.  This whole time, we’ve been trying to get ready for my rookie season.  You know, you’re just getting better like you usually do in the offseason.  Out running, out working out, out throwing the football around, just getting ready to be successful coming into your rookie minicamp.

– Whether it’s Cleveland or elsewhere, Derek Carr’s drive and determination are going to be tough to stop.  For all of the talk about other quarterbacks, his intangibles and ability to win with preparation and hard work are up there with anybody and teams will certainly feel comfortable with him off of the field.  Good luck in his continued pursuit of his NFL dream.  Here is my breakdown of Carr and what I feel he brings to a team.