We sat down with former Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr at the scouting combine today in a Google hangout session and he answered some of our questions as well as questions from the readers. Among them he was presented with the question of how he responds to the criticisms of his pocket presence. He says basically that that is a misconception based on his junior season in which he was injured.
"You turn the senior year tape on and that's not happening," said Carr. "During my junior year it's happening because... I mean you hate to say why but I was definitely affected by the injury I was playing with. It hurt to sneeze, let alone play football. That's one reason but you turn the senior year tape on and just off the top of my head I can think of ten times where I'm stepping into throws taking shots in the face. The championship game on third downs, we're converting. So, people are gonna say what they're gonna say because that's their job and that's what they wanna do but I've heard from GM's and coaches, it's not something that they're concerned about."
Carr has also received some criticism for his play in the 2013 Las Vegas Bowl in which his Fresno State team lost 45-20 to USC. He has is other interviews said he was injured for that game as well.
"I was fired up just to get back out there after a tough loss to USC in the Las Vegas Bowl and to show people it's just one game. One game does not define who you are or your career so I wanted to get back out there in the Senior Bowl and have a great week of practice and preparation as well as the interviews. Once we got to the game, to be able to play in a live game where they're allowed to hit you and show people that some of the things they were saying weren't true. We were blessed to have a great week and great reviews come back to our side."
Last week in an interview with Bay Area radio station 95.7 The Game, Carr mentioned that his family was all Raiders and Cowboys fans and his uncle played for the Raiders. Even still, he was criticized some for saying "Black and Silver" instead of "Silver and Black" which is a bit of a faux pas among Raiders fans.
There is a good explanation for his getting the colors backward - he was a Cowboys fan growing up. Though he said joining the Raiders would have its advantages.
"What an opportunity to stay in California, close to home," said Carr. "All the Fresno State fans are either San Francisco fans or Oakland fans and so I know that we'd have good support from the [Central] Valley, I know we'd have good support from the state of California, and what an opportunity, my uncle, he was a Raider, he played for the Raiders, so I've known about them for a long time. I would absolutely love to be there and spread the gospel there."
And in case you were wondering, when he says "spread the gospel" he is not being metaphorical. He literally means the word of God. He is a deeply religious man and said he would spread the gospel to any team who drafted him.
It's pretty clear his sparkling character is one that would be very attractive to Reggie McKenzie. And if McKenzie is among those GM's who Carr says are not buying into the criticism of his pocket presence, he could very much be on the Raiders radar.
There were also an array of um... interesting questions posed by Raiders fans from Silver & Black Pride. If you asked a question, there's a chance he answered it.
Carr is currently projected to go anywhere from the top ten down into the second round which means if the Raiders may have more than one opportunity to draft him should they choose to do so.