Former Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr says teams are telling him they’d like to draft him somewhere with a pick in the 20s on Thursday night.
One team with a pick in the 20s in this year’s draft, Cleveland at No. 26, is reportedly interested in Carr. But the team that picks Carr might be a team that trades into the pick: According to John Clayton of ESPN, Carr says four or five teams have told him they would like to trade into the 20s to draft him.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see a team with a high second-round pick trade up into the 20s to take Carr there. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement makes drafting a player in the late first round preferable to the early second round in one key respect: First-round picks have fifth-year options on their contracts, whereas second-round picks become free agents after four years. That means that if Carr develops into a franchise quarterback, the team that drafts him gets an extra year before having to break the bank to lock him up with a long-term extension. (With Colin Kaepernick wanting $18 million a year or more on his next deal, San Francisco may wish it had traded up and taken him late in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft, instead of trading up to take him early in the second, so that it would have a fifth-year option on his rookie deal.)
Carr’s stock seems to be rising as the draft approaches, and there’s now a lot of talk that he’ll be drafted higher than former Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. There’s a good chance that after Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles, Carr will be the third quarterback off the board, perhaps in the late first round.