Austin Carr, Denver Broncos 2017 NFL Draft target?

The Denver Broncos need some help offensively, and could look at Northwestern Wildcats star receiver Austin Carr in the 2017 NFL Draft…

The Denver Broncos have a need for a third option in the passing game at wide receiver, and Northwestern Wildcats star receiver Austin Carr is unquestionably a candidate to be selected by John Elway and his new coaching staff.

Carr is an impressive talent, not only on the football field but off of it. A very talented musician, Carr’s career at Northwestern began as a walk-on and while he was wrapping his hand with some tape, he tried cutting the tape with a butter knife and ended up pretty badly cutting his finger.

At the time, Carr made the decision to have surgery that put him out for two months and preserve the long-term health of his finger as opposed to trying to impress the Northwestern coaching staff by gutting it out and playing injured. It was the right decision.

Since that time, it’s been a bit slow-going on the field for Carr. He had only seven catches in 2014 and 16 catches as a junior in 2015. This past season, however, Carr put on a show for the whole nation to see, catching 90 passes for 1,247 yards and 12 touchdowns. It was a season for the ages, as Carr propelled himself from completely unknown to Biletnikoff Award finalist.

Not only did Carr show an ability to work underneath as a slot receiver, but he was spectacular on intermediate and deeper routes, which Pro Football Focus highlighted in a post discussing Carr’s candidacy as the best slot receiver in all of college football:

While Carr does have some production on underneath, his numbers on intermediate and deep routes is staggering, in particular to the middle of the field. On intermediate and deep shots (throws at least 10 yards through the air from the line of scrimmage) between the numbers, he has caught 16 of 23 targets for 389 yards and five of his nine touchdowns. This includes going four-for-four on deep shots (throws at least 20 yards through the air) for 110 yards and two scores.

I’ve come away from my study of this player incredibly impressed. He understands the game extremely well, and shows that hard work pays off. He realized his limitations early on, got better, and adapted himself to become one of the best playmakers at wide receiver in college football.

When evaluating talent, there are some football players that you just ‘know’ are going to be good at the next level. There is that oft-discussed ‘it factor’ that so many people talk about that you can’t just put your finger on what it is, but some guys just have it. Carr is one of those types of players.

There are, of course, a lot of things he does well as a football player. He’s smart, very clearly well-studied, he runs great routes, and he is sure-handed. He may not have the best timed speed, but he’s quick and finds himself wide open more often than not. He’s a weapon in the red zone, and plays bigger than his size.

He acts like a professional off the field, and is very clearly prepared for life after football, whenever that day may come. For now, though, Carr intrigues me as an NFL wide receiver, and I think he’d be a great fit for the Denver Broncos.

Not only did he impress as a slot receiver, but Carr also graded out as Pro Football Focus’ top overall receiver in college football this season…

Not bad for a former walk-on.

I don’t know what round Carr will be projected to go come time for the 2017 NFL Draft, but with the absence of a true slot receiver on Denver’s roster and this guy sitting out there for the taking, I wouldn’t mind seeing him in orange and blue as soon as possible.

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