As the state of California develops into an even bigger pool of talented prospects, attention starts to turn towards every college in California. While there is plenty of talent at USC, UCLA and Even Cal-Berkeley, one of the more exciting programs this year is Fresno State.
As the Bulldogs continue to roll along on their undefeated season with the hopes of running the table and making a BCS bowl game. While their defense has been solid allowing 30 points per game, their offense has been leading the charge. The Bulldogs’ offense is sixth in the country in passing yards with 371.9 yards per game and seventh in points per game averaging 44.3 points per game. While their running game has struggle, the passing attack is led by quarterback Derek Carr and wide receiver Davante Adams, two players who have sent their draft stock skyrocketing this season and will be highly coveted by many NFL teams.
While he may not be on the level of Teddy Bridgewater or Marcus Mariota in terms of potential, Carr is still a very talented prospect and a first-round talent. One thing Carr has going for him is his arm strength, and he easily has one of the strongest arms in all of college football. Unfortunately, his physical ability isn’t showcased very well in Fresno State’s offense, which uses a lot of quick passes and throws behind the line of scrimmage. Despite playing in an offensive scheme that clashes with his skill-set Carr is still finding ways to put up big numbers on a weekly basis. This season Carr has completed 69 percent of his 364 pass attempts while throwing 25 touchdown passes to just four interceptions.
What Carr doesn’t get enough credit for his mobility, countless times he escapes pressure with his feet and rolls outside the pocket to extend the play and find an open wide receiver. Some will argue that Carr plays against weak competition, but the offensive line and offensive coordinator he is working with aren’t exactly SEC-caliber either. Where Carr will really have a chance to prove himself is in Alabama for the Senior Bowl, it will give him the opportunity to show scouts how talented he is. Carr is a first-round talent and don’t be surprised if Bruce Arians drafts him in the first round when May rolls around. Carr is perfect for Arians’ vertical passing game and paired with Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd will be just what the Cardinals need to contend for a wildcard spot in 2015.
Just turn on a Fresno State game and it won’t take very long for Adams to pop out on your screen and make you say “WOW!” Adams has put in all of the work to develop a great relationship with Carr and you are seeing it pay off every Saturday. When Carr gets the chance to go deep or throw one up in the air, you know exactly who the ball is going towards. The defense even knows the ball is going to Adams but it doesn’t matter, he does an excellent job tracking the football and controlling his body to put himself in the perfect position to catch it. He is second in the country this year with 72 receptions just seven games into the season, to go along with 804 receiving yards and leads the nation with 13 receiving touchdowns.
Adams does it in a variety of ways, he has the speed to take a screen pass 80 yards to the house but he can also make the leaping grab in the corner of the end zone when the Bulldogs need a big play in the red zone. For all Adams has done though in just two seasons as the Bulldogs’ top wide receiver, he has so much more potential left to fill. He brings ideal size at 6’2’ 212 pounds and knows how to use his size and speed to beat his opponent. He is a killer on the fade route but will have to come in and master every route when he arrives in the NFL, but he has shown plenty in Fresno State’s offense to make me believe he can do it all. This is a very deep wide receiver class and right now he is my fifth wide receiver prospect; falling just behind Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks and Marqise Lee. I easily could see a team taking him late in the first-round, with teams like New England, Kansas City, San Francisco, Cleveland and possibly even Green Bay all looking for a wide receiver.
Next time you are free for a few hours on Saturday, check out the college football schedule and find the Fresno State Bulldogs. The program is on the rise and you will have a great chance to see future NFL starters take the field and dominate.