Oakland Raiders Position Grades: Pre-Training Camp

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Jun 9, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws a pass as quarterback Christian Ponder (9) watches at minicamp at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


  • Starter: Derek Carr
  • Backup: Christian Ponder
  • Third string: Matt McGloin 

General Manager, Reggie McKenzie, “got his guy” in the 2014 draft by being patient and letting his favorite quarterback fall to the 2nd round where he was drafted 36th overall. Reggie’s patience looks to be paying off. Carr has shown incredible leadership skills, worth ethic, and intelligence off the field. On the field, as a rookie he flashed incredible potential throughout the season, moments of greatness that showed a skill well beyond his years, and moments of a rookie finding his way in the league. Rookie mistakes were bound to happen because, well, we was a rookie.

I expect, as many people do, that Carr will make the traditional leap from year one to year two that accelerates many young players’ careers. Add this with the number of new offensive weapons Carr has at his disposal, along with a new offensive scheme that should be much less conservative, and the future is looking bright for #4.

A long time friend of mine is as die hard of a Vikings fan as I am a Raiders fan, so needless to say I’ve watched Christian Ponder play quite a bit. At his best he seemed like he could be a capable quarterback, but I never saw him as being “the guy” for a team. Luckily, with Oakland he won’t need to be “the guy” he just needs to be ready if he’s called upon to do what he actually does very well, manage games.

Ponder has a lot of the same physical abilities as Carr, he’s understatedly quick on his feet, he doesn’t have the cannon arm that Carr has, but he’s got veteran savvy, and familiarity with Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave’s playbook. I was a little puzzled when Ponder was signed, because I am a big fan of Matt McGloin. I think McGloin has always done a respectable job for the team when he’s been called upon, and has been overlooked a lot. But taking into consideration Ponder’s skill set and relationship with Musgrave I think he is the better fit as the backup to Carr.


This grade is a bit based on potential, but I don’t think it’s no secret that I’ve got a bit of a man crush on Derek Carr. I think he’s got what it takes to be a franchise quarterback for the Raiders, and I think he can be the man to help lead the Silver and Black out of mediocrity and back to being one of the more feared and respected franchises in the NFL.

Next: Raiders Position Grades: Running Backs