In my weekly column, we take a long look at impact fantasy football rookies. I compare their performance to date against my original expectations of them. Let’s continue this 2014 version of the series by looking at one of the best quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft, Derek Carr. I will look at some of his college production against his performance versus Kansas City to dissect his dynasty value.
These are my thoughts after watching him in college: The young leader makes quick decisions with a strong-am but looked even better with the efforts of his impressive receiver, Davante Adams. Carr has good ball placement, is mobile in the pocket avoiding pressure, and takes what the defense gives him by reading their coverage well. Carr has good footwork, steps up on his passes to see the entire field well. He tends to go to the open receiver running underneath instead of pressing the ball down the field. The signal caller has the necessary arm strength to make all the throws and plays like a leader out there.
Carr is an underrated athlete who can extend the play with his feet by tucking the ball and running. He was only separated by a hundredth of a second in 40 times with Johnny “Football” Manziel. The young quarterback is accurate with his passes, but played the majority of his college career in the shotgun. This may not give an accurate account of how he will deal with pressure at the NFL level. Carr had most of his success against lesser competition, because the pressure created by constant blitzing rattled him. I believe Carr will be a starting level NFL quarterback, but I do not believe that he will become a dynasty QB1.
In his game against the Chiefs: The first thing that I noticed was his poise. He was calm in the huddle and made decisions quickly. Carr is one of the least sacked signal callers in the NFL despite having a less than stellar offensive line in front of him by sensing pressure well. The young quarterback is light on his feet, tends to throw the ball into the flat versus pressure with a one or three-step drop. It seems that he might predetermine where he is going with the ball prior to the snap. Carr does not look as effective when bootlegging with the ball, which is a bit surprising considering this helps split the field in half for him. It is somewhat frustrating as he does not throw the ball deep often as he would rather check down the ball and let the receivers do all the work. While that is safe, it doesn’t create as many fantasy points. Carr is willing to throw into tight windows and is very accurate when he has the time in the pocket.
The Raiders coaching staff used him a lot in the shotgun formation to give him more time against a strong Chiefs pass rush. Carr does the little things that freeze a defense for a second or two aka pretending to still have the ball despite already handing it off. His calmness in the pocket is rather rare for a rookie, his older brother had happy feet and the younger Carr seemed to have learned from those lessons. Where the ball comes out of his throwing arm is a little concerning as he doesn’t always get an arch on the ball and has too many passes knocked down when they are traveling into the line of scrimmage. The young quarterback converted two short yardage runs to keep the final drive going. He floated a pass that only James Jones could get to for the game winner.
Let’s face it, other than the oft-injured Latavius Murray, Carr doesn’t have a lot of offensive weapons in Oakland. Mychal Rivera is a slightly better than average move tight end and Jones is best suited for third receiver role. Hopefully the Raiders can have another good draft like they did in 2014 and stay away from overpriced veterans. Carr might be a better NFL quarterback than a fantasy one and should be considered a QB2 at best.
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