Gems of Drafts Past: Brandon Carr

Last week, we introduced Ghosts of Drafts Past, focusing on busts from previous NFL Drafts. In this article we are going to talk about the gems from past drafts that exceeded expectations in the NFL. So let’s dive right in. 

The first player that I want to cover here is Brandon Carr. Carr excelled as both a cornerback and wide receiver as a high schooler in Flint, Michigan. Despite his success, he wound up at Grand Valley State University, a D2 school in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. In his senior season, he played every single game with 45 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 13 passes defended. These stats are nothing to sneeze at. 

Due to his limited exposure at Grand Valley, he did not get an invite to the Combine or any All-Star games. Grand Valley didn’t even hold their own pro day, so he had to go to Central Michigan to perform in front of NFL eyes. After his workout, most people in the NFL, both scouts and experts, reached the consensus that he was a 6th or 7th rounder. 

Fast forward to the day of the 2008 NFL Draft. Carr gets drafted in the fifth round (140th overall) by the Kansas City Chiefs. He became the 23rd cornerback drafted and the second the Chiefs had drafted (Brandon Flowers went in the second round). Carr became the 8th player in the history of the NFL to be drafted from Grand Valley and the first since 2005. When Carr was drafted, the organization had a lot of hope that he would become a solid starter for the team. 

In his rookie season in 2008, Carr became an instant impact player. During training camp, he battled with Brandon Flowers and Patrick Surtain for a starting cornerback spot. At the end of the preseason, Carr was the third corner on the depth chart and became their number one nickelback. He finished his rookie year with some phenomenal statistics, posting 73 tackles, 6 passes defended, 2 interceptions, and 2 fumbles recovered. He was an instant playmaker and adjusted insanely quickly to the NFL game.

Brandon Carr remained a solid corner for the next several years for the Chiefs until his contract was up in 2012. The Chiefs decided to not renew and he became an unrestricted free agent. He then met with the Dallas Cowboys and signed with them ahead of the 2012 season. Carr went from having a 3 year, $1.36 million contract for his rookie deal to a 5 year, $50.10 million contract with a $10 million signing bonus. He went into his first season with Dallas as the undisputed number one corner. Carr replaced Terrance Newman and worked alongside Morris Claiborne, Orlando Scandrick, and Mike Jenkins. 

In 2017, the Dallas Cowboys decided not to renew his contract and let him test the free agency waters. He received interest from the Jets and the Ravens, ultimately deciding to sign with Baltimore for 4 years and an opt-out clause for the Ravens. Over the next few years, Carr’s play declined slightly, but he was consistently the best corner on the team until his departure in 2019. He then re-signed with the Cowboys practice squad in 2020 and was eventually let go at the end of the year. Carr has yet to officially retire from the NFL but it seems like the time is near.

In my eyes, Brandon Carr has to be one of the most overlooked and underrated players I have seen. He came from a small D2 school and didn’t receive much exposure. He then makes the jump from D2 to the NFL and doesn’t miss a single beat. All through his career, he was considered to be a top corner and a highly sought-after free agent, yet he never made a single Pro Bowl or All-Pro team. In one of his years with Kansas City he had 25 passes defended. He was also a tackle machine. He wouldn’t blow you away with crazy interception numbers but he was a solid, above-average corner for over a decade. He started 192 of the 195 games he played in and didn’t miss a start until his 13th year. 

It’s clear that some people may not give Carr credit for the career that he had (the NFL certainly didn’t) but I will. To come from a tiny school and be given a very miniscule chance of even lasting three years in the NFL and instead pump out a 13-year career with 192 consecutive starts is quite impressive. Props to the scouting department for the Chiefs who did their due diligence and found this gem of a player who would be a defensive leader and a mark of consistency for many years and for several teams.

Follow Austin on Twitter @ArmchairAustin.

Posted in NFL.

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