It’s not easy following in your older brother’s footsteps, especially when he was a first overall draft pick in the NFL, but Derek Carr has relished the opportunity every step of the way.
When he was 12 years’ old, his older brother David, who was drafted by the Houston Texans in 2002 and spent 11 seasons in the league, sat him down to watch film.
“I remember him getting ready for the Jaguars, and him sitting there, I’d go over to his house after school and he’s like, ‘Alright, if you see the nickel and he’s pressed in this situation, they’re going to play cover-2, or he’s going to play cover-1, it’s going to be man, if they do this, it’s going to be this blitz.”
He soaked it up like a sponge.
“I went to the game Sunday night and I was telling my dad, ‘Hey they’re about to bring this blitz.’ And then look what happened. I don’t think 12-year-olds are supposed to be doing that,” Carr laughed.
Now it’ a strength of his, along with the benefit of being able to witness firsthand the enormous expectations of a first overall pick, expectations the elder Carr wasn’t able to live up to. He spent the majority of his career as a backup, and to put it bluntly, has been considered a bust by many talent evaluators. Those trials and tribulations taught the younger Carr how to stay level-headed.
“The No. 1 thing my brother has taught me is you’re going to be praised a lot. You’re going to be criticized a lot. Ignore both because neither matter. Just continue to work hard, be yourself, trust the people around you that care about you, listen to them, and just continue to work hard like he did.”
His brother also taught him about work ethic, something he learned very early on in those film sessions at home. “I’m not 6ft 6. I don’t run a 4.3. But I’ll outwork and I’ll out-prepare anybody.”
And then there’s the relationship with Bucs new offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford, who was David’s coach at Fresno State.
“I go way back with Teddy. When I was five years old, I would go out to practice with my nerf ball, and he’d put me through drills at Fresno State practices. He’s been working me out ever since then. He’s so close to our family, so near to our hearts and it works both ways.”
He was asked if that meant it was secretly hoping Tampa would draft him. Head coach Lovie Smith said earlier this week that he wouldn’t be opposed to taking a quarterback with the seventh overall pick.
“It’d be a great opportunity to be in Tampa Bay and to play for [Tedford] because I know how much I’ve learned from him already, and how much, when I’m with him every day, how much I can learn, how much better I can be as a quarterback. So if that’s the situation, I would absolutely love to be a Buccaneer because I love Tedford and I love that city and that organization more than anybody.”