2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: USC RB Stephen Carr

Brian Lamb
Brian Lamb is the owner of NFL Draft Lounge and has covered the NFL Draft since 2011. Brian is also the owner of the Infinity Sports Network, which NFL Draft Lounge belongs to.

The University of Southern California has been known to put really successful running backs into the NFL Draft. However, in recent years, they’ve been unable to do so. However, within their program, Stephen Carr was a very solid running back for them, and as we’ll spotlight in this scouting report, he could be a late-round NFL Draft prospect worth targeting. While he spent a good portion of his time in pass protection, Carr has the abilities necessary to play in the NFL, too.

While he may not be Marcus Allen, Reggie Bush, or LenDale White, Stephen Carr is still very talented. In this scouting report, we’ll look at Carr’s background while at USC, then we’ll turn on the game film to look at what he does well, as well as areas where he could improve. Finally, we’ll look at Stephen Carr’s scouting report before predicting where he’ll come off the board in the 2021 NFL Draft.

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Background

Coming out of Summit High School in Fontana, California, Stephen Carr was considered to be a four-star recruiting prospect according to ESPN and Rivals. However, 247 Sports had him listed as a five-star prospect. All three recruiting websites had Carr listed as a top 40 prospect in the country, as well as a top three running back prospect.

Prior to his commitment to USC, Stephen Carr had offers from Alabama, Oklahoma, and LSU. In February of 2017, Stephen Carr officially signed his Letter of Intent with USC. On June 1st, Carr officially enrolled in classes.

In his freshman season, Carr finished with 363 rushing yards on 65 carries, along with three touchdowns. Further, he averaged 5.6 yards per carry and caught 17 passes, too.

In 2018, as a sophomore, Stephen Carr appeared in nine games for the Trojans before suffering a right ankle injury for the second straight season. However, he was able to finish with 384 yards on 81 carries.

In 2019, Carr missed three games due to a left hamstring issue. Despite the injury, Carr appeared in 10 games and finished with 396 rushing yards on 72 carries, as well as five touchdowns.

In a shortened 2020 season, Stephen Carr was used sparingly as he ran for double-digit rushing yards for three times, but failed to reach triple-digits. In fact, Carr only rushed for triple-digit rushing yards one time in his collegiate career.

 

What I Like About Stephen Carr

As with all of our scouting reports the website, we like to embed game film clips to illustrate what we’re seeing on tape. Down below, I’ve attached three clips from Stephen Carr’s collegiate career at USC. For the first clip, we’re at a home game against Utah in 2019.

 

Competitiveness and Contact Balance

This isn’t a performance where Carr is able to turn on the jets and display quickness to elude defenders. Instead, in close quarters, Carr works outside the numbers to catch a pass and fight for additional yardage. What I’m most impressed by on this play is Carr’s ability to fight for those yards with so many defenders draped over him. It’s only a four-yard gain, but the effort is worthy of much more.

 

Elusiveness At The Line Of Scrimmage

In the clip above, we see what looks really similar to an NFL rep, right? The UCLA defense is able to penetrate the offensive line quickly and are in Carr’s face as soon as he receives the handoff. However, with a quick juke and a change of direction move, Stephen Carr is able to find some open room to turn this play into a positive gain. With the Trojans backed up against their goal line, I love to see Carr’s tenacity to fight for the five-yard gain.

 

Burst And Acceleration

These type of carries are rare from Stephen Carr, but I love to see it, too. The offensive line does a great job to steer the defense to create a gap that Carr bursts through quickly. After a quick cut to get upfield, the Trojans running back explodes for the first down, plus a few additional yards. Even though we don’t see it very often from Carr, it does provide NFL scouts with the opportunity to see him do it.

 

What I Dislike About Stephen Carr

As I mentioned earlier, we like to include game film clips that not only highlight what an NFL Draft prospect does well, but also where he needs to improve. In the clips below, I’ve found a few plays that spotlight areas where Stephen Carr’s abilities need improvement.

 

Ball Security

First off, I understand that Stephen Carr just received the ball, but this doesn’t appear to be a poor handoff. Giving Carr the benefit of the doubt, this was Carr’s first fumble since his freshman season in 2017. Further, the defense gets incredible penetration on this play to blow this up as soon as he gets the ball.

 

Downfield Blocking Technique

I’ve watched this clip several times, and despite that, I still can’t figure out what his plan is here. Carr has a defender right in front of him with his quarterback out in space. I thought that maybe he didn’t realize that he was running, but Carr turns around to look behind him. Ultimately, I just want to see Stephen Carr attack the defender, even if it’s momentarily.

 

Finding Space As A Receiver

We can’t see the whole field on this rep due to a lack of All-22 film, but I feel like we can see enough. Kedon Slovis, the USC quarterback, is facing pressure in the pocket and running for his life to the right side of the field. Stephen Carr finds space in zone coverage, but doesn’t make it any easier on Slovis. I would have loved to see Carr move to the right side in front of Slovis to give him safety net. The defender is a couple of yards from from Stephen Carr, so there was room to create space, especially if he was running across the field.

 

Stephen Carr NFL Draft Scouting Report

 

Pros
  • Pass Protection Ability
  • Competitiveness To Fight For Yardage
  • Quickness and Acceleration

 

Cons
  • Downfield Blocking Ability
  • Reading The Field As A Receiver
  • Worrisome Injury History

 

The Verdict

Stephen Carr was a top running back prospect coming out of high school, but battled through injuries throughout his collegiate career. Despite this, Carr was still able to average an impressive yards per carry. As we’ve shown throughout this scouting report, Stephen Carr was also a huge contributor in pass protection, although he did struggle to block downfield on occasions.

Stephen Carr could opt to return to Southern California for the 2021 College Football season, although I find it unlikely that he’ll do so. As a 2021 NFL Draft prospect, I feel like Stephen Carr could be a valuable day three target. However, if a team falls in love with his abilities, despite the limited reps and carries, he could possibly sneak into the third round.

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