The first few weeks of mock draft season has shed light on a debate that will continue as experts bat answers back and forth: Is Derek Carr really a franchise quarterback? The crux of the matter seems to depend upon what the front office in Minnesota believes, if the latest mocks are any indication.
Dan Kadar of SB Nation's Mocking the Draft runs through the first three rounds in his latest mock draft, and though UCF's Blake Bortles is still the first overall selection, Derek Carr falls out of the first round. The news isn't all bad, however, as he would be the Oakland Raiders' 2nd-round choice at pick 36 and pair with Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins as the Silver and Black begin to rebuild in earnest.
As in past weeks, however, it is the Minnesota Vikings at #8 who continue to appear as Carr's landing spot in the majority of mock drafts I have examined. Rob Goldberg of Bleacher Report did not waste a lot of time assembling a mock draft in the wake of the Super Bowl, and that was his projection. Walter Cherpinsky of WalterFootball.com continues to stay the course, as well, as does his colleague Charlie Campbell. Rob Rang and Dane Brugler of CBS Sports also add momentum (even if there is no such thing) to the possibility by pairing Carr with the Twin Cities.
Two different draft analysts continued another interesting thread with their own post-Super Bowl first rounds. Josh Sanchez of Fansided had projected Carr to Tennessee, while Eric Galko of the Sporting News marks a new entry among mocks, but both men see that the Arizona Cardinals get their next franchise quarterback at pick 20.
The folks at Drafttek put out their latest mock draft with a significant trade between the 49ers and the Cowboys, but whatever ripple effect that has did not affect Carr's situation, as he is still locked in at #35, the Cleveland Browns' 2nd-round pick.
Other Mountain West Prospects
There are not many sites that cover multiple rounds at this point, but Dan Kadar's recent mock covers a full three rounds. 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) Mocking the Draft: 62 (New England, round 2) WalterFootball.com: 61 (San Francisco, round 2)
Shaquil Barrett, LB, Colorado State
Drafttek: 165 (Oakland, round 6)
Bene Benwikere, CB, San Jose State
Drafttek: 190 (San Francisco, round 6) WalterFootball.com: 126 (New England, round 4)
Joel Bitonio, T/G, Nevada
Drafttek: 212 (Oakland, round 7) WalterFootball.com: 117 (Green Bay, round 4)
Alden Darby, S, San Diego State
Drafttek: 196 (Cleveland, round 7)
David Fales, QB, San Jose State
Drafttek: 151 (Kansas City, round 5)
Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming
Drafttek: 130 (Tampa Bay, round 5)
Marqueston Huff, S, Wyoming
Drafttek: 142 (New York Jets, round 5)
Marcel Jensen, TE, Fresno State
Drafttek: 119 (Kansas City, round 4)
Tyler Larsen, C, Utah State
Drafttek: 107 (Detroit, round 4) WalterFootball.com: 123 (Cleveland, round 4)
Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State
Drafttek: 76 (Detroit, round 3) Mocking the Draft: 78 (Dallas, round 3) WalterFootball.com: 107 (Detroit, round 4)
Nevin Lawson, CB, Utah State
Drafttek: 182 (New England, round 6)
Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State
Drafttek: 78 (Baltimore, round 3) Mocking the Draft: 70 (Jacksonville, round 3) WalterFootball.com: 62 (New England, round 2)
Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming
Drafttek: 100 (Tampa Bay, round 4) Mocking the Draft: 84 (Arizona, round 3)
Be sure to visit Mountain West Connection weekly as the mock draft roundup will be updated continually as the NFL Draft nears.