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Derek Carr, Brady Quinn, and Why Alex Smith Just Asked for More Money

Derek Carr

This is a completely unfair and probably irrelevant observation, but I feel pretty strongly that the D. Carr with the most talent and experience won’t cost you a draft pick and is available for the veteran minimum. It also feels like @kgotsick probably has a column breaking down the relative merits. The elder Carr generates interest even in those fleeting sideline shots, usually peeking over Eli’s shoulder as the Giants staff tries to decipher what happened on yet another interception.1

Year Att Comp Comp % Yards Y/A AYA TD INT Rating
David 2001 344 533 64.5 4839 9.1 10 46 9 165.9
Derek 2013 454 659 68.9 5083 7.7 8.7 50 8 156.3

Anyway, that analysis is only marginally better than this analysis.

carr II

But it’s still surprising the family history story line isn’t getting more play. Or even the “Fresno State quarterbacks don’t make good NFL quarterbacks” narrative. In fact, I’m mostly interested in these anti-Carr narratives in the first place because I’m paranoid something disastrous is about to befall my beloved Chiefs.

Kansas City Is Rumored to be Interested in Drafting Carr at No. 23 Even Though They Have Three Better QBs

Derek Carr is currently being connected to Kansas City, and since the Chiefs are my hometown squad, this worries me a little. When Kansas City traded for Alex Smith last season, most of the focus was on why they would pay two second round picks for a low ceiling game manager, but the Fantasy Douche liked the trade and I argued for him as a great fantasy sleeper. He immediately helped resuscitate a bumbling franchise, leading them to the playoffs and then authoring a playoff game for the ages. He was eventually outdueled by Andrew Luck but only after losing Jamaal Charles, Knile Davis, and Donnie Avery to injury.

The problem with the trade had very little to do with Smith’s ceiling and everything to do with the lose-lose structure of the trade itself. In the contemporary NFL, second round picks are hugely valuable. They’re early enough in the draft to fall in the range where GMs should still have a decent hit rate, and late enough that the players selected represent incredible financial values. If Alex Smith had failed, the Chiefs would have given up a ton of draft value for nothing. Unfortunately, now that it looks like he’ll succeed, they have a financial disaster on their hands.

Consider the situation in Baltimore. As soon as Joe Flacco signed his current contract he had negative value to the Ravens. He’s simply not good enough to be worth that percentage of their cap. In the immediate aftermath of the Super Bowl, there was a lot of talk about how Baltimore had to assign him the exclusive franchise tag, even though having Flacco signed away would have been a rainmaker scenario for the Ravens. Of course, most NFL teams would prefer to close their championship window for good rather than endure the ensuing PR nightmare, and Baltimore was no different.

Fast forward back to the Kansas City situation, and the Chiefs have Smith under contract for 2014 but no further. They also have cap problems galore. Perhaps for this reason, the Chiefs are being linked to Derek Carr. Some believe this is merely a leverage ploy against Smith’s agents, but I’m not sure why they would care. Eli Manning didn’t lose much job security when the Giants drafted Ryan Nassib, because Nassib can’t play. If the Chiefs want to threaten Smith’s agents, why not just use Tyler Bray?

It feels stylistically dubious to quote myself there, but using the twitter embed sort of breaks up the page visually. Also, you’ll note, Tyler Bray is a better prospect than Derek Carr and didn’t require a draft pick.

Derek Carr – The Prospect

Carr ranked No. 4 in our Composite QB Rankings, but, after examining Carr using the same screens that led me to believe Manziel is one of the best prospects ever, I concluded he wasn’t even deserving of a spot in the Top 10. As I’ve pointed out on several occasions, his numbers when not targeting Davante Adams are far worse than Tajh Boyd’s numbers when not targeting Sammy Watkins. And then there’s this:

Rotoworld recently passed along an ESPN Insider report that Carr’s completion percentage under duress was 31%, the worst of any of the top prospects.

All of that sets the stage for the Derek Carr comps steampunk-style, courtesy of the RotoViz transaction engine.2

DEREK CARR 2013 74.38 214 39 51.08 0.69 7.7 0.08 0.01 97 12992
Average 2007.1 74.75 219.4 42 39.98 0.66 7.95 0.07 0.02 118.2 11880.8
GENO SMITH 2012 74.38 218 41 44.08 0.7 7.8 0.08 0.01 194 11762
KLIFF KINGSBURY 2002 75.5 213 37 50.86 0.67 7.05 0.06 0.02 -114 11931
COLT BRENNAN 2007 74.38 207 37 46.18 0.7 8.51 0.07 0.03 27 14172
JOHN BECK 2006 74.12 215 37 34.75 0.69 9.32 0.08 0.02 -8 11021
ZAC DYSERT 2012 74.88 231 44 44.08 0.64 7.56 0.06 0.02 373 12528
KEVIN KOLB 2006 75.12 218 50 30.86 0.68 8.82 0.07 0.01 154 12964
ALEX BRINK 2007 74.25 211 41 41.92 0.61 7.59 0.05 0.03 34 10886
BRADY QUINN 2006 75.75 232 48 35.75 0.62 7.41 0.09 0.02 62 11513
KYLE ORTON 2004 76 233 35 35.36 0.61 7.94 0.08 0.01 112 8838
COLT MCCOY 2009 73.12 216 50 36 0.71 7.5 0.06 0.03 348 13193

You don’t need a lot of commentary on these quarterbacks. I once saw Brady Quinn attempt to throw a Hail Mary only for the pass to come down 10 yards wide of the field. Pundits have different ideas about the exact value of accuracy – Teddy Bridgewater is ultra-accurate but that may not matter since he has small hands – but it’s safe to say you don’t want your passes to look like shanked punts.

We should quickly scroll through all the necessary caveats – quarterbacks are difficult to project, I liked Geno Smith last year and still do . . . um, quarterbacks are difficult to project – but it doesn’t really matter what lens you use to look at Derek Carr. He’s not a first round prospect. He’s not even a mid-round prospect. And, as Phil Emery recently pointed out, using a late round pick on a developmental prospect is usually a waste.

Andy Reid and John Dorsey have generated an incredible amount of good will in their lone season on the job. That’s not difficult when you follow the heroic incompetence of Herm Edwards and Scott Pioli. They could lose all of that in one pick on Thursday. (I also empathize with quarterback-starved fans in Jacksonville, Minnesota, and Cleveland. I’m even rooting for the Raiders to land a competent signal-caller.)

The stats do not support the thesis that you can pass on Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles and still come up with your franchise QB in the guise of Derek Carr. Bridgewater and Bortles are probably not Gabbert and Ponder. Derek Carr is not Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson. He’s not even Andy Dalton.

But then again, quarterbacks are difficult to project. And I’ve been wrong before.

  1. You know David is thinking, “Coach, what Eli did there was throw the ball directly to the other team,” but he keeps his expression studiously blank. He knows he’s on television and hundreds of thousands of women aren’t going to breathe again until the camera cuts away.  (back)
  2. In my imagination FD’s comp generator uses vacuum tubes, renders multiple universes, and generally looks like something out of 12 Monkeys.  (back)
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