Who’s The Best Comparison For Derek Carr? Former Scouts, Execs, and Analysts Weigh In

By most accounts, Derek Carr was one of the league’s top rookies in 2014. So strong is the optimism around Carr (even outside the organization) that a Sports Illustrated re-draft in January suggested the Texans should have drafted Carr with the first overall pick.

Indeed, the Derek Carr hype train seems to never leave overdrive, but to wet your appetite for his sophomore season, here are nine respected football minds who weighed in on Carr over the offseason. The list features a former executives, scouts, quarterback coaches, analysts, and a player.

Steve Clarkson is considered one of the top quarterback tutors in football. He has worked with Ben Roethlisberger, Nick Foles, Teddy Bridgewater, Jameis Winston and a long list of other college and professional quarterbacks:

He reminds me of a young Aaron Rodgers. Very quick and accurate release with the ability to extend plays within or outside the pocket. Derek is a fierce competitor and has all the intangibles you’re looking for in a franchise quarterback. I thought he was the best quarterback in his class and believe he’ll be the Raiders’ leading man for years to come.

Joe Bommarito, former 12-year NFL scout with the New York Jets:

I like Carr a lot. He has all the tools to be a top QB in this league. Strong arm, athletic, tough competitor, smart and good leader. Compare him to guys like Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck (in terms of) skill set. Remember all QB’s take time to reach their maximum value. Some quicker than others. Carr will be around for a while.

Ted Sundquist is a former scouting director and two-time Super Bowl winning general manager:

He reminds me a lot of Drew Brees. Many parallels in background and first-year production. Similar mental and physical makeup.


Lance Zierlein is an NFL draft analyst for NFL.com as well as radio host on SportsTalk 790 in Houston:
I covered David when he was with the Texans and I can tell you that Derek was a better thrower of the football coming out of college even though he wasn’t the physical specimen David was.  What has really made me a believer of Derek’s ability to be a good QB in the NFL is his poise.  Derek didn’t have much to work with in terms of running game and upper echelon receiving targets and yet I rarely saw him get rattled beyond was is normal for a rookie. When you look at traits, Derek reaches or exceeds NFL standard for arm strength, athleticism and accuracy.  While he’s just average in terms of size, I think his poise and ability to get through his progressions is what will ultimately take him beyond most people’s expectations for him.
John Middlekauff is a former NFL scout and co-host of Haberman & Middlekauff on 95.7 The Game:
I’d compare Carr to Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers. Good athlete, big arm. Obviously not as good as Rodgers, but similar build, arm strength and athletic ability.
James Jones played with both Derek Carr and Aaron Rodgers:
I started calling him ‘Baby A-Rod’ when I was in Green Bay and I used come down to Fresno State when he was a Sophomore and work out. I called him ‘Baby A-Rod’ because he throws the ball effortlessly and it’s a fling like Aaron. They can make all the throws… He’s going to be a special player for a long time.
Louis Riddick is a former NFL scout and current ESPN analyst. These were his thoughts on Carr and Cooper in July:
I love everything that is Derek Carr and I have since the first time I turned on his film when he was a sophomore at Fresno and then progressing through his career to last year. He just needs help like every other quarterback does. No quarterback, none, can survive without having talent around them and they are starting to give him some pieces now. I think him and Amari Cooper will be the young dynamic duo of the league this year provided they can stay healthy and they can keep Derek off his back. Those two are going to light it up. [Derek] has everything between the ears that you want. There’s no question that his arm and his feet are championship level. It’s can he tie all three phases together – his feet, his arm, and his head, along with the people he has helping. Derek Carr is special. I think we’ll see that sooner rather than later.
Dane Brugler is a senior NFL draft analyst at NFLDraftScout.com and CBS Sports:
I don’t think there is a perfect comparison (for Carr), but when I scouted Carr out of Fresno State, I saw a Matthew Stafford-type of passer and I think that holds true today. If you want a technically sound passer with flawless footwork then Carr isn’t for you. But if you want that golden arm quarterback with a quick release, appetite for football and competitive streak then Carr is the type of passer who will continue to grow on you and help lead an offense.
Anonymous NFC West scout:
There are a lot of quarterbacks who have the physical tools. What is most impressive about Carr is what’s between his ears. He’s a hard worker and fearless competitor. His leadership skills are exactly what the Raiders needed when they drafted him. They were fortunate to have a prospect of his caliber fall to the second round.
While it’s difficult to categorize Carr, it could be that one of the players he resembles most is the one that seems to have inspired him most. Carr wears no. 4 because of Brett Favre and in many respects seems to model his game after Favre. Like Favre, Carr isn’t particularly tall – each stands 6 feet, 2 inches. Both are gifted with dynamic arm strength and seem to approach the game similarly. In Carr’s own words:
One thing I love about Brett Favre is when he played I was like “Man, that guy is having fun,” and I want people see that in me. Not talking skill wise or anything like that, I’ll let other people say that kind of stuff. The thing for me is, if someone says, “Wow, that guy plays passionately, and he gives everything he has,” that would make my day.
So the next time Carr throws a touchdown, keep an eye on him after the throw. He’ll probably be the next player charging into the end zone. A quarterback with a “special” skillset, giving “everything he has.”
twitter: @raidersbeat