Is Derek Carr the NFL’s future elite quarterback?

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Jan 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) shake hands after the 2013 AFC championship playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Carr vs. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady

The First Year:

While Peyton and Derek had quite different draft day experiences, Peyton going number one overall and Derek slipping to the 2nd round going 36th overall, they ended up in pretty similar situations.

At the beginning of the 1998 season, Manning found himself on the Indianapolis Colts, expected to be the day one starter for a team that was, in many ways, primed for success. Marshall Faulk had just come off of a 1000 yard season where he scored 7 TDs, and a young Marvin Harrison was steadily developing, managing to get 800+ yards on 73 receptions and 6 TD of his own. The offense just needed a quarterback.

  • In Manning’s rookie year, he played in all 16 games for the Colts, throwing for 3,739, 26 touchdowns, 28 interceptions and a QB rating of 71.2.

Tom Brady’s draft experience is basically something out of a 90’s underdog sports movie. We all know the story of him falling to 199th overall, and how he stepped up for an injured Drew Bledsoe. Given the fact that Brady didn’t start his rookie year, we will start with his second year. Tom Brady’s second year he played 15 games for the Patriots in the absence of Drew Bledsoe.

For those of you who may not remember Drew Bledsoe; filling in for him isn’t like replacing Jim Harbaugh like Peyton Manning did. Bledsoe isn’t going to have a bust in Canton, but he was one of the better quarterbacks in the league at the time, consistently throwing 3000 – 4000 yards per season. Let’s remember, back in 2001, a 4000-yard season was about as common as a 5000-yard season is today. It’s not unheard of, but it’s not the norm. Bledsoe got hurt in the 2nd game of the season, and Brady took it from there.

When Brady took over, Bill Belichick was still relatively new to the Patriots and his team was close to being a contender, they had a strong running back by committee backfield and two receivers who had 900+ yards the year before. So, like Manning, Brady stepped into a team that was primed for success.  They just needed someone to take them the extra mile.

  • Bradys first year as a starter he played in 15 games, threw for 2843 yards, 18 TDs to 12 interceptions, and had a QB rating of 86.5.

Fast forward some time later, Derek Carr enters training camp for the Raiders. Matt Schaub was signed to be the starter to give Carr time to develop. Even though Carr was expected to be the quarterback of the future, he was still behind Matt McGloin on the depth chart entering camp.  Carr got to work.  He showed up and quickly surpassed McGloin. In an outstanding performance against the Seahawks in the preseason, Schaub was out of the starting spot.

The offense Carr inherited was devoid of young talent. The last time the Raiders took an offensive skill player in the first round prior to Carr’s arrival was Darrius Heyward-Bey in 2009. Coming into camp, Denarius Moore a 5th round pick and undrafted Rod Streater were the team’s top receiving options. Darren McFadden was coming off of another injury filled season as running back, and Maurice Jones-Drew was signed making the most dominant backfield of 2010.

  • Carr played all 16 games of his rookie season, throwing 3,270 yards, 21 touchdowns to only 12 interceptions with a QB rating of 76.6.

Next: Year 2: So Far