Last week, I began an examination of the NFL Draft cognoscenti and their mock drafts as they concern Derek Carr, who is currently considered the fourth-best quarterback prospect in this year's class. Some of the analysts have not updated their mocks since last Friday, so I would encourage you to read the linked article to have the best cross-section of opinions that are available.
It is a commonly held assertion that Senior Bowl practices reveal much more about the players involved than the game itself. Derek Carr has been a big winner in this respect, as he earned rave reviews all week long and put some separation between him and his peers in Mobile. Russ Lande of Sports on Earth, for example, wrote:
Flashing an ultra-quick release, strong arm and ability to make strong and accurate throws from different arm angles set Carr apart from the rest of the pack. His natural throwing ability had many NFL scouts saying "wow" after he made impressive throws all over the field.
Dan Kadar of Mocking the Draft had similar praise for Carr, but it must be noted that both men had similar caveats about what they saw. From Kadar:
The issue with Carr will continue to be how he plays in the face of pressure. This setting didn't test that often. It is worth noting, though, that in Thursday's walk through, Carr was pressured on the last two plays of the day and he looked flustered.
In his accompanying mock draft, Kadar advises readers that the mandate is to "change things up at the top", so his prognostication that the Minnesota Vikings take Carr with the 8th pick must be taken with a grain of salt. Carr is currently ranked 36th on Mocking the Draft's big board, for instance. It is a much rosier prospect than his colleague Matthew Fairburn foresaw a week ago, though it is also in line with other analysts who see Minnesota as a team sorely in need of a franchise quarterback.
The experts at CBS Sports continued to be divided about Carr's future, though Dane Brugler sticks to his guns and continues to call for the Vikings to select Carr at #8, as well.
Two different mock drafts find a way to push Carr into the top five. Mike Sudds of Drafttek has the highest projection yet again, though he admits that the Cleveland Browns are likely to reach to take Carr with the 4th overall selection. Josh Sanchez of Fansided thinks that the Oakland Raiders would like Carr in silver and black at #5, which may be a dicey proposition given the team's uncertain commitment to Terrell Pryor. In both cases, Carr is selected ahead of Blake Bortles, which is a development worth watching.
Not all of the projections are so optimistic, though, and the greatest change comes courtesy of WalterFootball.com Walter Cherepinsky had been a part of the Minnesota chorus, but his latest mock draft drops Carr out of the first round to Oakland's second-round pick at #35. He explains:
I've slotted Derek Carr here for the previous four updates, but I'm beginning to think that Minnesota may head in a different direction if the top three quarterbacks are off the board. Carr is a reach at this spot, and while he would definitely be considered if the Vikings had installed a new regime, that doesn't happen to be the case. General manager Rick Spielman is on the hot seat, so he'll likely want to go the veteran route while spending a second-day selection on a signal-caller.
In his new scenario, the Vikings grab Tajh Boyd with their second-round selection while Raider fans are invited to "imagine what [offensive coordinator Greg Olson can] do with a legitimate franchise quarterback".
Other Mountain West Prospects
There are not many sites that cover multiple rounds at this point, but WalterFootball.com has hammered out four rounds. Drafttek has done one better and gone the distance with all seven rounds. Here is where other Mountain West athletes are slotted:
Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State
Drafttek: 36 (Oakland, round 2) WalterFootball.com: 49 (New York Jets, round 2)
Shaquil Barrett, LB, Colorado State
Drafttek: 173 (Detroit, round 6)
Bene Benwikere, CB, San Jose State
WalterFootball.com: 126 (New England, round 4)
Kapri Bibbs, RB, Colorado State
WalterFootball.com: 124 (Carolina, round 4)
Joel Bitonio, T/G, Nevada
Drafttek: 188 (Carolina, round 6) WalterFootball.com: 65 (Houston, round 3)
Alden Darby, S, San Diego State
Drafttek: 194 (Washington, round 7)
David Fales, QB, San Jose State
Drafttek: 116 (Arizona, round 4)
Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming
Drafttek: 126 (San Francisco, round 4)
Marqueston Huff, S, Wyoming
Drafttek: 142 (New York Jets, round 5)
Marcel Jensen, TE, Fresno State
Drafttek: 108 (Tennessee, round 4)
Tyler Larsen, C, Utah State
Drafttek: 109 (New York Giants, round 4)
Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State
Drafttek: 96 (Minnesota, round 3) WalterFootball.com: 107 (Detroit, round 4)
Nevin Lawson, CB, Utah State
Drafttek: 192 (Seattle, round 6)
Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State
Drafttek: 91 (New Orleans, round 3)
Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming
Drafttek: 100 (Tampa Bay, round 4)