Derek Carr Continues to Earn Praise Over 2014 First Round Quarterbacks


Falling all the way to the second round after a mediocre performance against USC in his final bowl game of his NCAA career at Fresno State, promising 2014 NFL Draft prospect Derek Carr’s draft status went from a first round talent to on the fringe as scouts along with draft experts expressed their concerns about Carr’s ability to handle pass rushing pressure despite showing plenty of arm strength during a 50+ TD, 5,000+ passing yards senior year to enter the draft process. Those concerns were increased due to the career path of his older brother David Carr’s struggles in the NFL as a first overall pick, but Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie had no problems with Derek Carr dropping to the second round when he selected a player he reportedly was scouting hard all the way back to the middle of the 2013 NCAA season.

Carr’s maturity as well as his attitude as a leader drew McKenzie to Carr early, and along with his elite arm strength the Raiders handed him the starting job before Week One to become the franchise’s first rookie quarterback to start the season. No wins have came yet in Carr’s young career, but plenty of promise has been shown as the second round pick has a rookie stat line that many have paid close attention to as Carr has plenty claiming him as the best quarterback of the 2014 Draft class so far.

That includes Sports Illustrated’s Doug Farrar, who in his recent Rookie Watch column pegged Carr over Top 5 pick Blake Bortles who has recently came in as a starter with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Basing the two on their play as rookie quarterbacks, Farrar made the point that in hindsight the Jaguars may have taken Carr over the athletic Bortles who guided UCF to a BCS bowl win last January to rise up draft boards. Crediting Carr’s statistical performance while in the midst of a rebuilding process in Oakland that has seen a change of head coaches already this season, Farrar had plenty of praise for the Raiders quarterback.

From Farrar’s Rookie Watch:

"Compare and contrast Bortles’ issues with the performance that Oakland Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr has put together. Carr was taken with the 36th overall pick out of Fresno State and started from Day 1 of the regular season. The rookie forced the issue when he threw three touchdown passes against the Seahawks in the preseason finale, including some very impressive deep passes against a Seattle defense that played most of its starters early in the game.With a better offensive line but equally nebulous targets and the worst run game in the NFL, Carr has been by far the NFL’s most impressive first-year quarterback in 2014, leading all comers in every meaningful category. His Pro Football Focus passer rating of 83.51 is comparable to the rookie ratings of Mike Glennon in 2013, Ryan Tannehill and Andrew Luck in 2012, Andy Dalton and Cam Newton in 2011, and Joe Flacco in 2008. It’s far above Bortles’ rating of 70.96, and Carr has proven to be a far more reliable player through the first half of his first season. And this is on a team with a front office very much in flux and one head coach already out the door in Dennis Allen, who was canned after the Raiders lost to the Dolphins in London in late September.Bortles will have no organizational problems to deal with after his team’s loss to Miami, but in the long term, he’s the latest example of how quarterback analysis can be a complete crapshoot at the best of times. Would the Jags take Carr instead of Bortles now, given the Raiders standout’s relatively low instances of rookie mistakes? That’s something only they know."

It is interesting to debate where Carr would be drafted based on his first seven games as an NFL quarterback as he most likely would have been taken by the Cleveland Browns over Johnny Manziel as an easy point of reference, but for now Raiders fans will be more focused on trying to debate where Carr will be able to lead them beyond a 2014 season that appears to be another lost cause in Oakland. The next step for Carr will be to turn impressive stats and throws into wins, something that down the road should come. For now the media as well as the rest of the NFL world are paying attention to the Raiders hopeful future franchise quarterback and his potential, something that is a consolation prize during the team’s trying 0-7 start to the season.