The Oakland Raiders finally got their franchise quarterback. Fresno State QB Derek Carr, brother of former Houston Texans number one overall pick David Carr, was drafted by the Raiders early in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. The Raiders have struggled to find a solid starting QB since Rich Gannon took them to the Super Bowl in 2003. In fact, the Raiders’ QB futility has rivaled that of the Cleveland Browns, who also drafted a franchise QB hopeful in Johnny Manziel. All of that is about to change though for Oakland.
In the off-season, the Raiders traded a 6th round pick to the Houston Texans for Matt Schaub, who suffered a significant drop in play this past season. Expect Schaub to bounce back this season with the change in scenery. Schaub is not as bad as his play indicated this past season. He’s clearly not a long-term solution, and in my opinion is not capable of leading the Raiders to a Super Bowl, however he has the knowledge and the talent to make the Raiders respectable while bringing along a young QB and allowing him to sit and learn.
Enter Derek Carr. The Fresno State QB put up extraordinary numbers in college while running a pro style offense. He even had a better college career than his older brother, who ended up becoming the number one overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft. Derek however lasted until the early second round before being selected by Oakland, but it’s not his fault. Derek’s draft stock clearly suffered due to his brother’s struggles with the Texans.
Make no mistake; David Carr was not a bad QB. He was simply thrust into a no-win scenario in Houston. He was the first pick for an expansion team with no offensive line and no QB worth sitting behind and learning from. David was doomed from the start. If he had gone to any other team, save for maybe Detroit, his career would most certainly have been different, however this is not about David; this is about Derek.
Derek is clearly a better QB than his brother. He is stronger and more athletic. He has better decision-making, however the one knock on his game is the way he handles the blitz, however good coaching can easily fix this. Probably the most important trait in Derek Carr though is his maturity and leadership. I challenge anyone to watch any interview with Derek and not come out completely blown away by his maturity and leadership. When I watch Derek speak, I am reminded of players like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
Is Derek Carr as good as Manning or Brady? We can’t answer that for sure right now, but what I can say is he has the leadership, maturity, and moxie of these two future Hall-of-Famers. I expect Derek Carr to come into Oakland and immediately become a leader in the Raiders’ locker room. Will he beat out Matt Schaub for the starting job? He probably won’t, but it won’t be for lack of talent. It will simply be because the best thing for him is to sit behind a proven veteran and learn all he can, and I can say with certainty that Derek Carr will be anxious and proud to do just that.
It all boils down to this: Derek Carr is a complete package, something I don’t see in any other QB in this draft class. While he has some flaws in his game, no rookie QB is perfect. Peyton Manning threw over 25 interceptions in his rookie season, and he turned out just fine. It all comes down to character, charisma, and leadership, and Derek Carr has all of those qualities by the millions. Derek Carr will lead the Oakland Raiders back to a Super Bowl before he hangs up his cleats. David won a Super Bowl as a backup for the New York Giants. Derek will win one as a starter for the Oakland Raiders. I guarantee it.