Bowl games can often have tough consequences on the stock of a high profile player. In the case of Derek Carr though, his 2014 NFL draft standing is safe.
USC loss can’t derail dominant senior season for Carr
It wasn’t exactly the Cinderella end to an otherwise glorious season for Carr. In the Las Vegas Bowl he faced a distracted but ultimately more talented USC team that finally was seeing some stability at the head coaching position. As so often is the result, the more complete team one. Absent of a defense or a running game, the Trojans were able to concentrate there efforts on stopping Carr. He finished the game with a mortal 217 yards an two touchdowns with an interception. Considering that stat line came after 54 pass attempts pretty much tells the story of how difficult it was for the senior. Meanwhile the Trojan offense found it easygoing against the Bulldogs anonymous defense, closing out an emphatic 45-20 victory. Carr will be questioned for his performance, particularly his shaky accuracy and erratic footwork in the face of a strong USC pass rush. Such is what happens to a potential first round pick after a tough loss in a big game. However, things will ultimately work out in his favor. First and foremost, a lost to a premier program like Southern California is nothing to cry about. Stanford can say the same thing. Second, that one defeat can’t erase the season-long film of an otherwise dominant offensive season in which Carr compiled over 4,800 passing yards and 48 touchdowns.
Marcus Mariota and Bryce Petty exits leave his status safe
Reasons for not panicking about his 2014 NFL draft stock go beyond that though. From a sheer physical standpoint, Carr is gifted enough to go in the top ten. He has a great arm with multiple levels of delivery. His accuracy and fundamentals are usually good though he needs some fine-tuning in terms of seeing better pass rushers on a consistent basis. Height is not a problem, nor is mobility to escape pressure. What he could really use is more bulk added to his frame. At present teams are skeptical his lanky frame would last long against pro levels defenses. It’s something that can be corrected with time and work, something Carr embraces. Still, the most basic reason he is in no danger of falling out of the first round is simple math. Thanks to the announcements by strong underclassmen like Marcus Mariota and Bryce Petty to return to school for 2014, it has considerably thinned the talent level available in the first round. Such events often like borderline names like Carr to jump up boards. Naturally he will need good showings at the Senior Bowl and scouting combine, but if he stays the course some team will accept whatever superficial risks there might be to make him their future starter.