Derek Carr not first-round lock despite big week at Senior Bowl

MOBILE, Ala. -- There's no doubt Fresno State's Derek Carr was the most impressive quarterback at the Reese's Senior Bowl practices this week, yet no one is suggesting he's a slam dunk to go in the first round of the NFL Draft.

In fact, NFL Media draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah has Carr as his fifth-rated quarterback in this draft -- behind Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and AJ McCarron -- and the 44th overall player in his top 50 prospects list. And Charles Davis is the only one of four NFL Media analysts to place Carr in his first-round mock draft.

There's still a lot of proving ground for Carr between now and the draft (and questions to answer after a poor showing against USC in the Las Vegas Bowl last month), starting Saturday in the Senior Bowl when he gets the nod for the South team. But, as people like to say, all it takes is one team to fall in love.

Will the Cleveland Browns, stocked with multiple picks in the first round and beyond and a desperate need at quarterback, be that team?

"If they want me, absolutely," Carr said Friday on the Bull and Fox CBS radio show in Cleveland when asked if he could see himself with the Browns. "I just want to go to a city and a team that loves me and wants me."

Carr was asked if he had spoken to the Browns at the Senior Bowl, a silly question, considering all prospects speak to all NFL teams in Mobile at one point in the week. Carr, of course, said the Browns were among the teams he spoke with and that he felt "all of them were interested."

The more interesting part of the interview came when he was asked about his brother, David, the former No. 1 overall pick of the expansion Houston Texans in 2002 who ended up playing 11 years in the league but for various reasons never lived up to expectations.

Derek Carr defended David like you would think a brother would, but you get the sense he was defending himself, too, as he builds his case for those -- teams and fans alike --- who might (wrongly and stupidly) hold his lineage against him in their draft assessment.

"If you let fans dictate that kind of stuff, then your mind isn't strong enough at all, especially when it's about things they don't have a clue about," Carr said. "(The Texans) were an expansion team, (first) No. 1 pick ever." Carr also pointed out that Tony Boselli, taken by Houston in the 2002 expansion draft, never played a snap because of injuries. "He was their left tackle who was supposed to protect the blind side," Carr said. "And the first five years (David) was (in Houston), there's no linemen left in the NFL; that stat was true five years ago.

"It's tough," he said. "He did absolutely everything he could; he's one of the most talented people I've ever been around, so I know the guy can throw the ball around and be a quarterback."

Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr appeared on a recent CFB 24/7 podcast. The complete interview can be found here.

Follow Andy Fenelon on Twitter @Andy_Fenelon.

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