If you take a moment and pan through all of the young, franchise quarterbacks, in the NFL today, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who has a better surrounding cast of play-makers than second year, Oakland Raiders quarterback, Derek Carr. Armed with weapons such as, Rookie-Phenom WR Amari Cooper, all-purpose running back Latavius Murray, the resurgent Michael Crabtree, up and coming rookie TE Clive Walford and rising star, WR Seth Roberts, the Raider offensive skill positions have never appeared more well-rounded. The only question that remains is whether or not Carr is destined to be the quarterback to led this group towards a successful new era of Raider football.
Derek Carr was arguably the number 1 quarterback coming out of the 2014 rookie class. For the most part, he checked off every box of prerequisites teams look for in their franchise quarterback. Carr brought in a winning mentality. A fleet footed, NFL arm-ready passer, coming from a high octane offensive system at Fresno State, led to the belief this kid could be special. Derek Carr also brought with him a resume of the highest order, in terms of collegiete accomplishments. Here is a short list of just a few of his accolades:
- 2013 Sammy Baugh award winner (Nations Top passer)2-time All-American
- 4th QB in FBS history to throw for over 4,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in a single season (2013)
- His 113-24 TD to INT ratio was 2nd best all-time in FBS history
Needless to say, his resume reads like binary code, the list goes on and on, highlighting many more accomplishments than the ones mentioned above. The point being, Derek Carr knows the taste of success and for a franchise mired in tasting defeat, more often than not, the Derek Carr selection signals a new beginning for Oakland Raider franchise.
Thus, the stage was firmly set, by Raider’s front office leadership, as Carr was selected with the 4th overall pick in the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL Rookie Draft. Therefore, as a result, the Raider faithful were eagerly waiting for the debut of their new franchise quarterback with a heightened anticipation.
Test Driving Oakland’s Shiny New Carr
Year one, of the Derek Carr experience, was filled with its share of inconsistencies, while being mixed with sprinkles of success. In a traditional scoring format of 4pts awarded for each touchdown pass, Carr closed his rookie season with a stat line bordering on mediocrity, yet showing signs of bringing life to a previously stagnant Oakland offense. Carr posted 3270 passing yards for 21 touchdowns with 12 interceptions, giving him 224.60 fantasy points. Certainly not world-beating numbers, but considering his supporting cast, not terribly poor either.
The proverbial Sophomore Slump has become something very real, especially when being scrutinized from a fantasy football perspective. Thus far, in 2015, Carr has demonstrated progress, albeit not the eye-popping type of progress many fantasy owners had posssibly hoped for. His excuses for being anything less than a weekly production QB1 are beginning to run out. Currently armed with a litany of skill position players, more than capable of producing, Carr has yet to tap into maximizing all of his resources or his natural abilities.
As of the time of this article, Carr has posted 3,313 passing yards for 28 touchdowns with only 9 interceptions. He has already surpassed his 2014 numbers and there is still 2 more weeks left in the NFL regular season. From a fantasy standpoint, these numbers currently have him placed 12th overall at the quarterback position. As fantasy owners, all we want to see is steady improvement. Therefore, when meauring his progress, Derek Carr has certainly avoided the dreaded Sophomore Slump, even though he hasn’t made the leap to an elite level. When comparing him with the top 2 quarterbacks of the 2015 class, Jameis Winston & Marcus Mariota, you will find that each one have eclipsed the numbers Carr posted in his own rookie season. But again, he has made steady improvement.
Revving the Engine
When considering when to “Buy” or invest in a young quarterback, some of the key factors to consider are; (1) offensive system, (2) skill position talent, (3) evolution of player and finally, (4) job security (has the team brought in other quarterbacks to compete with said player).
As far as Derek Carr is concerned, the Oakland Raiders have made their decision. Derek Carr is and will be the franchise quarterback in Oakland for the foreseeable future. He is also in an offensive system which can make him special. He continues to evolve himself individually and has the personnel in place to help him continue his individual evolution.
There will always be areas we can nitpick, however, the bottom line is, Derek Carr is a young talent at the quarterback position who has the weapons around him to mask any developmental deficiencies he may currently have. Therefore, I recommend “taking a ride” with Carr and would have no problem with him as my Dynasty quarterback, with the belief that he has the foundation to become something great. At the end of the day, when we look for a quarterback to grow with, not many can boast his abilities coupled with the weapons surrounding him.
Thanks for reading. You can find me on Twitter @DynastyFFactory.