Are the Browns buying this Carr?
(Over the next several weeks leading up to the NFL Draft, Fox Sports Ohio will take a look at some of the draft prospects that could end up with the Browns. FSO’s Fred Greetham was at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and talked with many of these top prospects)
The Browns brain trust started their quest to work out the quarterbacks in this year’s NFL Draft this past week.
Last Monday, the first quarterback they privately worked out was Fresno State product Derek Carr.
The Browns have been linked to Carr for quite some time, back to the days when Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi were running the show.
Browns coach Mike Pettine had high praise for Carr last month at the NFL owner’s meetings in Florida.
"I think he’s the best natural thrower as far as arm strength and when you’re just looking at the guy, natural thrower, in the draft," Pettine said. "Very physically-gifted. And a lot of times it’s hard to bet against the family history as well. You’re talking about like a Jake Matthews that it’s the old ‘don’t bet against the genetics.’ I think he certainly falls into that category as well."
Pettine was referring to Derek’s older brother, David Carr, who was the first pick overall of the 2002 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans.
John Middlekauff of 95.7FM The Game in the Bay Area of California said Derek Carr told him on his radio show Friday that some NFL teams talked about bringing David in as a veteran backup quarterback if Derek was drafted by them.
Could one of those teams be the Browns?
Currently, the Browns have just Brian Hoyer and Alex Tanney under contract and it’s assumed they will sign a veteran quarterback at some time before training camp.
Carr spoke at the NFL Scouting Combine in late February about his preparation for the NFL.
"I’ve been getting ready for this since I was three," Carr said. "I’ve been trained by my dad and my brother. I’ve been watching NFL film since I was 12. I think, from a mental standpoint, just having David is such an advantage, such a resource. He’s done all this, of course social media wasn’t around when he was doing this. But it’s such an advantage to have him."
Carr feels his learning curve has been helped because of his brother’s experience.
"The No. 1 thing my brother has taught me is, you’re going to be praised a lot, you’re going to be criticized," he said. "Ignore both because neither matter. Just work hard, be yourself, trust the people around you that care about you. Listen to them and continue to work hard like you do."
Carr was asked why he thought he could have a better NFL career than his brother did after joining the Texans in their expansion season. David Carr took a beating behind a poor offensive line as he started his career.
"Well, there’s no expansion team," he said smiling. "That’s a great thing. That’s one thing we’re fired up about. One thing is they do ask a lot what is similar about us. Physically, we’re the same build. He’s probably eight more pounds. We run the same. We throw a little different, but we have the same mannerisms.
"They want to know those things because he was the first pick for a reason," he said. "It wasn’t for no reason. He went through here and was still chosen first. That’s a pretty good accomplishment. At the same time, what’s different? Our personalities are different. I’m a little more open. He’s kept to himself. We’re different in a lot of ways."
Last Monday, Carr was on ‘Late Hits’ radio with Fox Sports’ Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt after the workout with the Browns. He identified Pettine, GM Ray Farmer, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains as being present.
"The visit with the Browns went really well. They sent a ton of people out here to see me (Farmer, Pettine) so it went well."
Carr said that Shanahan conducted the workout.
"Coach Shanahan ran the workout, made me make every throw an NFL quarterback has to make. They test you in so many ways."
Carr was considered one of the top quarterbacks in the country but finished his career at Fresno State with a less than stellar outing in the his bowl game against USC.
However, he bounced back with a good week of practice and showing at the Senior Bowl.
"I could not wait for the Senior Bowl to get back out there and say, OK, I can still complete passes," Carr said. "I’m not too bad at this. Especially, playing in a game where it’s live. They can still hit you. I can step in there and make throws against SEC, ACC, Big 12 and Big 10 competition.
"It was great to get out there to show what I could do. The reviews and evaluations we got back were awesome. I’m so happy I was able to do that."
From the start of the draft process, most NFL draft experts lumped Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater as the top tier of quarterbacks available. Most early projections had those three going at or near the top of the first round, with Carr going near the end of the first round or in the second-round. It has been widely reported that if the Browns don’t use their fourth overall pick on a quarterback, they might target Carr with their second first-round pick (26th overall) or their second-round pick (35th overall).
However, he might not last that long now and if the Browns want Carr they might have to trade up from later in the first round or even use their fourth pick on him as some recent projections have Carr moving up into possibly the top 10 of the draft.
"From the evaluations I’ve got and from the meetings I’ve had, I don’t care what those rankings are," he said. "I know what I’ve heard and what they’ve said to me. They’re not going to sugarcoat anything for me.
"I love what people say outside of those circles," he said. "It’s fun for me to hear because I know what the teams are saying and what they’re telling me. It’s been really good so far."
Carr is married and has been through some difficult times already off of the field, which will help him handle the pressures of being an NFL quarterback. His son, Dallas, was born last August with twisted intestines. He had three surgeries and Derek and his wife were told that their son might die.
"He’s a trooper," Carr said. "I get choked up talking about it now.
"I’ve been through some adversity," he said. "For doctors to tell me my son might not live, there is nothing anyone can do or say that can affect me. My priorities in life are my faith, my family and then football. You can say whatever you want about me, but I’m going to give everything I have to whatever team I’m on."