Shane Carden
Who is Shane Carden anyway? (Butch Dill/Associated Press)

While every NFL team is looking for that next Russell Wilson, the closest thing since may be in this years draft class. East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden is being vastly overlooked. Most draft experts have Carden as the 6th best quarterback. That low ranking may come back to haunt teams in the near future.

While many avid football fans do not know of the East Carolina star, Carden has put up video game numbers during his collegiate career. In his Senior season Carden threw for 30 touchdowns and over 4,700 passing yards. Shane’s Junior year may have actually been more impressive compiling a 70.5% completion percentage. The Pirates quarterback has been criticized for being a system quarterback. During Wednesday Combine Media Day Carden had this to say.

“For whatever reason, ECU’s offense has been thought of as some single-read offense – which is very far from the truth,” Carden said. “Certain play-actions are quick reads. But there are a lot of progression reads. There’s safety reads. There’s a lot of different things in talking with these coaches, I’ve realized kind of the complexity of the offense.

“As far as [being a system quarterback], you can’t worry about all that. I feel confident in the offense I ran. I was given the offense and I mastered the offense. I can’t help that it wasn’t pro-style. There’s plenty of who were in pro-style offenses that have had trouble in the NFL.”

The highlight of the East Carolina season came during a week three victory over number 17 Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech would be the lone team to beat the National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes, making the victory all the more impressive. In the 28-21 win Carden scored all four touchdowns and threw for 427 yards.

While Carden’s small school status may hurt him history may be on his side. The Houston native reminds me of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. The two have the exact same height weight numbers (6’2″, 220). While the two also look alike, both players came from small schools and have underrated athleticism. The State of Texas is also a quarterback factory producing the likes of Dalton, Andrew Luck, Mathew Stafford, Drew Brees and others.

The all time leading passer in ECU history has been working hard this offseason, side by side with Chris Weinke. The former Heisman winner from Florida State has mentored Cam Newton and Russell Wilson in the past. Simply put if your team needs a quarterback Carden can be had at a modest 5-6th round pick. Carden shattered David Garrard’s passing record and has a bright future in the league in my opinion. His favorite wide receiver Justin Hardy is also an interesting prospect being argued as the best route runner in the years draft.