Derek Carr: I'll surprise people in first round of NFL draft

You probably have to be living under a rock to miss the chatter about the pro days of the various quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft. While everyone is quickly developing an opinion on each of the top four players on NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock's list of quarterbacks, another piece of the puzzle came in on Thursday with the pro day of Fresno State's Derek Carr.

NFL Network's Paul Burmeister was at Bulldog Stadium to see Carr throw and was one of many to give the workout high marks.

Burmeister noted in an interview with Carr after the workout that the Raiders, who hold the draft's fifth overall pick, had their general manager, head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterback coach in attendance and asked Carr if No. 5 would be too early to draft him. Carr hinted that the feedback he's getting from NFL teams leads him to believe he won't be waiting past the draft's first round (May 8) to hear his name called.

"No sir," Carr said. "From what I've heard from the Senior Bowl, the combine, meeting with teams in-between then, talking to teams, I think we're going to surprise some people come May 8."

Carr looked sharp on almost all the throws, including throwing 43 consecutive completions. He did struggle a little bit with the long ball, but had most in attendance believing his draft stock was on the rise.

"A couple of the knocks you hear about Derek Carr from his tape at Fresno State is, No. 1, he didn't make a lot of NFL kind of throws from under center," Burmeister said on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft". "He wanted to prove he looked very comfortable under center and in the pocket today and that's exactly what his workout was setup to do."

But will that be enough to crack the first round in one of the deepest drafts in years?

With few teams in need of a quarterback in the back half of the first round, Carr is still considered a fringe candidate to make it to the first day of the draft. Cleveland's second pick at No. 26 overall could be a prime landing spot, but there's still plenty of jockeying going on among the three quarterbacks most believe are a cut above the rest, and Carr, who has been the leader of the second tier to this point.

"(Teddy Bridgewater) was up and down. I think Bortles is the best comparison. His workout was set up for him to shine in a number of different situations," said Burmeister while referring to the three quarterbacks' pro days. "I think Blake Bortles may have a little bit more upside after watching him (Wednesday), but right now I'd say the more polished passer inside the pocket is Derek Carr and his workout showed that."

Yet to throw in front of scouts and the media is Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel. He'll hold his personal pro day on March 27.

As for Carr though, his name has come up repeatedly over the past few weeks as someone to watch out for. While he might not be as highly regarded as the other three quarterbacks, he could be just as qualified to to become an NFL starter.

Former Houston Texans general manager and current NFL Media analyst Charley Casserly drafted Carr's brother David with the No. 1 overall pick in 2002 and thinks the latest signal-caller in the family might be best positioned to make it at the next level.

"Let's talk similarities. They both have a strong arm with a quick release that gets it out fast. Both good athletes, both tough guys," Casserly said. "Personality, I think David was more quiet and Derek is more out going. Derek will benefit from a couple of things. First off, he won't be going to an expansion team. No. 2 is he's grown up around the game and has David to fall back on."

Those points will certainly be noted by one of the seven or so teams looking for a quarterback this year. As they say, you only need one team to fall in love with a player to pick them and it's possible some front office has their sights set on Carr after Thursday.

Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.

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