From April 2002 at the NFL Draft: David Carr (far left) celebrates with his family after being picked No. 1 overall by the Houston Texans. Little brother Derek (third from right, white cap) is now a 2014 NFL Draft prospect. (ESPN)
At some point this week – perhaps as soon as tomorrow night – Derek Carr is expected to be in the spotlight of ESPN’s 2014 NFL Draft coverage.
The Fresno State star projects to be among the first quarterbacks picked as the selection process unfolds tomorrow (8 p.m. ET, ESPN), Friday and Saturday. ESPN’s cameras will be in Carr’s Bakersfield, Calif. home – along with about 100 family and friends – to get his reaction shortly after his name is called in New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
Derek Carr on “Gruden’s QB Camp”
(Allen Kee/ESPN Images)
Derek Carr enjoyed his “Gruden QB Camp” experience (next airing, tonight 8 p.m., ESPN Classic). He learned something from both “Grudens” during the taping at ESPN’s Wide World Of Sports production complex in Orlando, Fla.
On working with Jon Gruden: “Being around him was probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Just to pick his brain and learn from him was an amazing experience. He taught me how his quarterbacks prepared, what [former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback] Brad Johnson used to do during their Super Bowl run.”
On working with Frank Caliendo’s uncanny “Gruden”: “That was hilarious. I couldn’t stop laughing, so I don’t know if I helped at all. I had heard that he might have been in there. When he walked in, I started cracking up. He walked in, just like Coach [Gruden]. He taught me a couple of jokes, but not too much football stuff.”
On his thoughts after watching his “QB Camp” episode: “I thought [the producers] did a great job. I couldn’t believe how much [game film] we had to watch, and they had to break it down into just 20 minutes.”
On his favorite “QB Camp” episode besides his own: I really liked [current Seattle Seahawks and former N.C. State and Wisconsin star passer] Russell Wilson’s [in 2012]. Just watching him, paying attention to him, you could tell he was going to be successful at whatever he did.
For Carr, 23, shining under ESPN’s bright lights is old hat. On April 20, 2002, an 11-year-old Carr (see photo above) was on the Theatre At Madison Square Garden stage to help celebrate older brother David Carr’s status as the No. 1 overall pick of the expansion Houston Texans. (David is currently a free agent.)
Even at 11, however, the younger Carr showed then-NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue the kind of confidence befitting a pro football prospect.
“I shook Commissioner Tagliabue’s hand and told him I’d be back,” said Carr, chuckling, during an ESPN “Car Wash” visit last week. “I guess that wasn’t politically correct. But I was only 11, so I didn’t know too much.”
Even though he’s grown a lot since his 2002 network debut, Carr should be fairly familiar to ESPN viewers and readers.
- Eight times during his 11-2 senior season last fall, Carr’s Bulldogs were on ESPN/ABC’s airwaves.
- Recently, Carr taped an episode of Gruden’s QB Camp with Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden – and special guest “analyst” comedian Frank Caliendo impersonating Gruden. (See Carr-oriented outtakes below, and watch more outtakes here.)
- On May 1, the Carr brothers were the subject of an ESPN.com “E-Ticket” profile by ESPN The Magazine senior writer Seth Wickersham.
- Carr visited ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. campus last week for the “Car Wash,” making stops on SportsCenter, NFL Live and other programs.
But Carr’s ESPN ties don’t end there.
ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer, like Derek and David Carr a former Fresno State quarterback, is a valued mentor.
“We have the same business managers,” Carr said. “We played the same position, at the same school. I’ve run into him at a lot of games over the years, mostly at Fresno. He was at our San Jose State game. He’s such a good guy, and I really appreciate everything he’s ever done to try and help.”
“Gruden QB Camp Outtakes: Derek Carr Edition” video produced by Josh Lander