Prior to coming to Dallas, cornerback Brandon Carr had shown lockdown ability in Kansas City. He had such good coverage that he was never able to secure a lot of interceptions due to a lack of targets, so he’s never had more than four interceptions in a season. He’s also averaged 2.2 per year during his career. Despite that, I’ve projected Carr for a career-high five interceptions in 2013 and I think he has Pro Bowl potential. Here are four reasons why.
Claiborne’s emergence is inevitable. He has a top-tier skill set and should really improve in his second season in the league. That might make quarterbacks more willing to test Carr. That’s something he needs to happen for him to rack up the sort of numbers he’ll need to get to the Pro Bowl.
One of the reasons the Cowboys liked Carr is that he’s versatile; he can play both man coverage and zone coverage very well. That will help him in Monte Kiffin’s defense.
Monte Kiffin’s scheme
Speaking of Kiffin’s scheme, it’s really going to aid the cornerbacks, for two reasons. First, Carr will be able to keep his eyes on the quarterback on the majority of his snaps. That’s something he couldn’t do much in man coverage last season, and it makes it difficult to make big plays if you can’t see the quarterback throw the ball.
Second, Carr should play near the line-of-scrimmage much more often than he did in 2012. He had 53 tackles a year ago, so there’s only a small chance that he doesn’t surpass that number this season.
Earlier this year, I projected Carr with the following line:
57 receptions on 90 targets (63.3 percent) for 630 yards (7.0 YPA), 1.08 yards per snap, 63 tackles, five interceptions
Those are good numbers, but they’re not necessarily Pro Bowl-worthy. However, when I project a player, I’m looking for the most likely outcome. The distribution of potential seasons for any player is pretty wide, and Pro Bowl players are the ones who necessarily landed on the high end of their potential production.
So for Carr to make the Pro Bowl, he needs to have a high ceiling, i.e. at least a moderate amount of potential seasons with elite production. Given his talent and fit in Kiffin’s scheme, I think he has that. While Carr’s most likely season might involve four or five picks, seven or eight aren’t out of the question, and that would at least get him in the Pro Bowl conversation.
Jonathan Bales is the founder of The DC Times. He writes for DallasCowboys.com and the New York Times. He's also the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.