The Vikings brain trust has spent the last several days journeying around the USA watching quarterbacks grind through their pro day work outs. Thursday’s stop? Fresno, where Rick Spielman, Norv Turner and Mike Zimmer scoped out Derek Carr.
By all accounts Carr had a very solid work out, despite suffering a stomach issue the night before that required an IV. Norv Turner offered his own take on Carr’s performance and it was very complimentary.
“Obviously, he was very impressive today,” Turner said per Associated Press. “He came out and showed he has a strong arm, very accurate, he made all the throws. He had a heck of a workout.”
The expert take on Carr’s pro day has been unanimously positive, and at the same time unanimously underwhelmed. Possibly because, of all the top QB prospects, Carr had the least to prove in a work out setting.
Carr has already shown what he can do in other work outs, including Senior Day week where he was head-and-shoulders above the other QBs. The concern about Carr is over what happens to those crisp, impressive throwing skills when he has pressure coming at him.
The Fresno offense with its spread looks never really required Carr to drop back, read and deliver the ball very much. Can he maintain good footwork and vision in a pro style offense where he’s required to work inside a pocket with pass rushers all around? That’s the question.
And there was no way that question was ever going to be answered in a work out setting.
So take Norv Turner’s compliments with a small grain of salt. All Norv said was, “obviously he was very impressive.” Stating the obvious is another kind of saying nothing. And there’s a whole lot of saying nothing going on right now.
That being said, I think Carr is still someone the Vikings will heavily consider once draft day rolls around. If you want to look at it purely in terms of scheme, Carr’s arm strength makes him arguably the best fit for the Vikings.
Johnny Manziel’s mobility and improvisational skill make him exciting, but he’s really not a great fit scheme wise. Blake Bortles has nice size and good enough arm strength but he doesn’t throw it quite as well as Carr. Teddy Bridgewater doesn’t throw it as well as Carr either, and there are questions about his build and his accuracy.
Some of these second tier quarterbacks also are not great fits with the Norv approach. AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray and David Fales simply do not throw it that well and are probably better suited to the West Coast. Jimmy Garoppolo is a little more intriguing but again lacks Carr’s pure arm talent.
Logan Thomas has the huge arm but is so raw, you would have to wait at least two years for him to even be viable.
Which isn’t to say that Carr is a perfect fit for the Vikings either. The questions about his ability to function in a pro style offense will linger until he actually gets on the field and consistently shows that he can perform in that kind of set up.
All these guys have their question marks. There is no consensus best QB in this class, no slam-dunk Andrew Luck franchise player. Scheme-wise, I think Carr makes the most sense for the Vikings. But arguments can be made for other players as well, even more so if you remove scheme from the equation.