The Oakland Raiders were big winners in the 2014 NFL Draft, as they hit their first two picks out-of-the-park by snagging the draft’s second-best prospect on defense in Khalil Mack with the fifth overall pick before stealing away Derek Carr in the early second round. Carr has a great chance at being a franchise quarterback, and I had him ranked as the second-best QB in the class behind Teddy Bridgewater. The spread offense at Fresno State actually hurt Carr, because it prevented there from being extra blocking help to support him. He played behind arguably the worst offensive line in college football, and Davante Adams was the only top player around him on offense. Fresno State also did a poor job of using his athleticism and fleet feet, and they seemed more concerned with throwing as little interceptions as possible and dinking-and-dunking instead of taking full advantage of the strongest-armed quarterback in college football.
Carr needs to work on his mechanics and needs some polish, but he has time to develop behind short-term starter Matt Schaub. In order, the Raiders and Carr are a great match for eachother, and it will be interesting to see when he gets his first start with the team. That most likely won’t come for at least another year, so the focus will be on Carr’s work behind the scenes.
Raiders head coach Dennis Allen recently heaped some praise upon Carr for his football IQ, and that isn’t surprising given how much he was praised during the pre-draft process for having strong interviews that showed this knowledge. Allen told SiriusXM NFL Radio, via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Vic Tafur, “He’s a great competitor. He’s very fiery, which you can see on the tape. Although he may not be fiery off the field. And, he’s incredibly intelligent, one of the smartest quarterbacks that I have had an opportunity to interview.”
Allen later added that the Raiders were lucky to be able to draft Carr in the second round, and I would definitely agree with that statement. Carr has great intangibles, and he has experience in both a pro-style and spread offense, so I hate it when people state he will have to learn an NFL-style offense; that simply isn’t true. Another load of bunk comes when people treat Carr like a gunslinger. Yes, he possesses a ridiculous howitzer for an arm, but he only threw eight interceptions last year and is far from a high risk-taker at the position.