Las Vegas Raiders: 2021 NFL Draft proves Derek Carr is still the franchise QB

The Las Vegas Raiders’ picks in the 2021 NFL Draft show their faith in Derek Carr as the franchise QB, as they passed one on since Jon Gruden’s arrival.

It seems like every year since Jon Gruden took over, the Las Vegas Raiders are linked with a new quarterback in the offseason. After an “evaluation” year in 2018, they were rumored to be eyeing the number one pick so they could draft Kyler Murray out of Oklahoma.

Last year they were supposedly in the mix for Tom Brady and when he signed with Tampa Bay, then incoming Marcus Mariota was supposed to take Derek Carr’s job.

Instead, Carr has further entrenched himself as the franchise QB of the Raiders and has improved every year under Gruden. Along with improving per the eye test, Carr’s statistics have improved in all the major categories as well.

In 2018 he threw for 4,049 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 1ten interceptions, in 2019 it was 4054, 21, and eight, and in 2020 he topped it all with 4,103 yards, 27 touchdowns, and nine interceptions.

He took more risks in 2020 than he has since 2016 and set career highs in air yards per attempt and matched career highs in yards per attempt. It was clear that Carr had established himself as the franchise QB and even became the franchise leader in touchdown passes, overtaking the great Ken Stabler.

The Raiders clearly have that same faith in him as they came into this offseason once again linked with other quarterbacks, with rumors suggesting that because they had done their homework on this rookie QB class, they were interested in even a long term replacement for Carr. Their decisions this past weekend showed however that at least for the foreseeable future, they have no plans to replace him.

Raiders offense close to elite in 2020

The Raiders’ offense was just shy of the elite in 2020 and perhaps if they had a defense that could force turnovers and generate stops, they could have found their way into the elite category. Instead, they had an offense that averaged 27 points per game and a defense that gave up nearly 30 points per game. It doesn’t take a calculator to see that this was not a recipe for success.

So in this draft, they knew they had to build up the defense to contend and they did just that. After using the 17th overall pick to fill a need at right tackle, they used five straight picks from rounds 2-5 on defensive players before going offense in the seventh round. Even in the seventh where it would be understandable to take a flyer on a young quarterback that could be a diamond in the rough, the Raiders chose to select another offensive lineman to help keep Derek Carr upright.

There are still plenty of Carr haters in Raider Nation and they certainly have their valid criticisms but they need to accept that for now and likely for the future, Derek Carr is still the franchise quarterback of the Las Vegas Raiders. Now he just needs to go out and take this team to the promised land to silence his doubters once and for all.