|AP Photo/Gregory Bull|
|Fresno State QB Derek Carr is looking forward to the opportunity to show off his potential at the 2014 Senior Bowl.|
Whatever momentum Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr had going into the 2014 NFL Draft was undone by the USC defense in the Las Vegas Bowl. Now Carr is hoping to get it back at the Reese's Senior Bowl next week.
"My No. 1 goal is to go there and show people who I am, show them that No. 1 is my faith, No. 2 is my family and my friends, and No. 3 is football and I take my job very serious. Hopefully I'll find a team that feels the same way and falls in love with me," Carr told the College Football 24/7 podcast.
Despite throwing for an FBS-best 5,083 yards and 50 touchdowns as a senior, it was the struggles against the Trojans' talented front seven -- one Carr labeled "the best we played against" this season -- that raised concerns about his pocket presence.
Carr was 30-of-54 passing for 217 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in the 45-20 loss, a last impression that knocked him well behind Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles among quarterbacks available in the draft.
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah has a second-round grade on Carr. Bucky Brooks said scouts are "fascinated by his natural arm talent, his gunslinger mentality and his production," but sees the Senior Bowl as the proving ground that will play a significant role in determining Carr's stock.
"If he goes down to Mobile, if he lights it up and performs well in practices and in the game, I think he certainly can jump back in the conversation as one of those top guys," Brooks said.
Said Jeremiah: "That's why you go to the Senior Bowl if you're a guy like Derek Carr. You go there and you got a chance to really help yourself."
That is especially true with AJ McCarron, one of the other signal-callers currently in the second tier with Carr, bypassing the Senior Bowl after a similarly dismal bowl performance.
But Carr is aiming higher, expressing no doubts he can match Bridgewater, Manziel and Bortles in the classroom and on the field. As for the concerns and questions about his game that make the Senior Bowl so critical, Carr is glad to hear them.
"I hope they nitpick a lot because I want to be the best to ever do it, with respect to everyone who has ever played the position," Carr said.
Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.