PewterReport.com first mentioned the Bucs’ possible interest in Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr due to his connection to Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford, who coached his older brother, David, at Fresno State when Derek was six years old last week in SR’s Fab 5 column.
Because of the Tedford connection, Carr’s talent, and anticipating a good showing from him this week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., PewterReport.com put Carr in the top spot for the Bucs with the seventh overall pick in its first 2014 Bucs 7-Round Mock Draft.Interviewed on Monday, Carr was appreciative of his placement in the mock draft. While Alabama senior quarterback A.J. McCarron opted out of the Senior Bowl, Carr was excited to use the opportunity this week to improve his draft stock in front of NFL scouts, coaches and general managers.
“Thank you for that, I appreciate the compliment,” Carr said. “This is such a wonderful experience. I can’t speak for anybody else. They can make their own decisions [on whether or not to attend the Senior Bowl] because they are grown men. If I were for sure going to be the No. 1 pick I’d be here. This is a wonderful event that they put on. [Former Cleveland Browns general manager and Senior Bowl executive director] Phil Savage and his team do such a great job of giving back to these college players. It’s a great opportunity to meet coaches [and NFL talent evaluators].” The charismatic Carr will surely be a big hit in interviews with coaches, scouts and general managers and stated what a the NFL team that drafted him would get.
“What you see is what you get,” Carr said. “I’m going to be a hard worker, first and foremost. Number one is my faith. I’m not going to be out going to the parties and that stuff. I have a son. I have a wife. I know what I have when my work is over. I know what I’m going home to. Also I’m going to give my whole heart to it – whether I’m successful or if it doesn’t work out how I want it to. The team and the city that gets me will get absolutely every ounce of effort I’ve got.”
Carr and Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews have been staying after practice every day working on their timing at the Senior Bowl, which is a first. That type of work ethic is making a favorable impression on NFL teams.
Carr plans to extensively meet with Tedford, head coach Lovie Smith, who is not in Mobile, Ala., and the Buccaneers this week and later in the pre-draft process. Carr revealed that Tedford and his brother, David, attended a Fresno State game and spent some time with him in a personal tutoring session after the season.
“My brother has nothing but good things to say about Lovie,” Carr said. “I’ve never met him, but my brother has high praises about him and I believe him. That combination between Jeff Tedford’s offense and Lovie’s defense – Tampa is going to be doing special things, especially with a running back like Doug Martin in that offense. The sky is the limit. With all of the weapons they have … I could go on and on. Coach Tedford and I have a great relationship. He’s helped me through everything and always supported me. I’m so happy he got the job in Tampa because he deserves it.”
There have been mixed reviews on Carr’s draft stock with SI.com having him go eighth overall to Minnesota, while ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. doesn’t have him in the first round at all. Carr wasn’t shy when asked what it would be like if he were to be reunited with Tedford and drafted by the Buccaneers in the first round.
“I would love to be with him,” Carr said. “The amount of knowledge in him, he knows quarterbacks unlike any other. If I kept praising him, you’d run out of room to type. The guy is amazing and I can say enough great things about him.”
Tedford and new Bucs quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo were in the stands watching the Bulldogs quarterback on Tuesday and briefly met up with former Fresno State head coach Pat Hill, likely to talk about Carr.
Tedford was the Bulldogs offensive coordinator when David Carr became the No. 1 overall pick of the Houston Texans, an expansion team, in 2002, and is highly revered by Carr.
“He’s so smart,” Carr said. “He really is. He knows football. He knows quarterbacks. He knows technique. He knows all of those things and little things that you would never even think about. Whoever that quarterback in Tampa is, whether it’s that guy or another guy or me that guy will get better because he will get the most out of them.”
The Bucs have Mike Glennon, who set a slew of franchise rookie records in 2013 in the mix to become the starting quarterback, but may want a QB with more mobility, playmaking ability and savvy under center. With Dan Orlovsky slated for free agency and with former practice squad player Jordan Rodgers the only other passer under contract, it’s a safe bet that the Bucs will either sign a veteran free agent or draft another quarterback to serve as competition for Glennon.
Carr, the nation’s leading passer with 5,082 yards passing, an average of 390.9 yards per game, and an amazing 50 touchdowns as a senior, was briefly recruited to Cal by Tedford, but opted for Fresno State after another recruit beat him to the punch to join the Golden Bears.
“Yeah, he did recruit me,” Carr said of Tedford. “They actually had a guy commit early so that took up their spot, so that’s why they stopped recruiting me.”
Although Carr had a record-setting year in Fresno State’s spread offense under new coach Tim DeRuyter, he also had success earlier in his career under center in a pro-style offense similar to what Tampa Bay will run this year.
“My first three years was just like that – just like what [Tedford] runs,” Carr said. “It was pro style under Pat Hill, and the last two years was a spread. It was more simplified with signals because we were a tempo team. It was kind of like Oregon, but we threw the ball more. It was different in that there weren’t many huddle calls.”
Carr’s senior season didn’t end the way he wanted it to with a 45-20 loss to USC in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl. The Bakersfield, Calif. native completed 29-of-54 passes for 216 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in a less than stellar performance. Coming to Mobile, Ala., Carr was anxious to use the Senior Bowl to rid himself of a bad experience in his final collegiate game and get the bad taste of the Las Vegas Bowl loss out of his mouth.
“[Monday’s practice] did it for me,” Carr said. “I got to go out there and I came out with a ‘get after it’ mindset and that’s how it should be. I’m coming out here to compete, to win a job and to do those things, but [the practice] was able to do that for me. I was able to put that game aside and show them who I am and what I can do.”
Tedford and the Buccaneers are definitely watching.
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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