Somebody might want to tell the Oakland Raiders they're still the Oakland Raiders. When did they suddenly start drafting well?
The "Silver and Black" grabbed defensive stud Khalil Mack at No. 5 on Day 1, which was universally viewed as a massive success. Oakland followed that up with Derek Carr at No. 36 on Friday night:
The Raiders have selected Fresno State QB Derek Carr in the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL Draft.— OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) May 9, 2014
Former Cleveland Browns general manager Phil Savage and NFL Network's Rich Eisen were both fans of what the Raiders have done so far:
Phil Savage: Reggie McKenzie has really nailed this draft so far #Raiders— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) May 9, 2014
Some draft experts had Carr in the first round. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Raiders went even further, putting him at the top of their wish list. And here they got him in the second round. It doesn't get much better than that:
Oakland had Derek Carr as its top-rated QB...— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 9, 2014
Of course, Carr is far from a sure thing. Some wondered if playing at Fresno State helped to inflate his stats and performance. NFL.com's Michael Fabiano argued that most Bulldogs quarterbacks haven't been able to fully make the jump to the NFL:
Houston shouldnt pass on Derek Carr because of his brother. They should pass on him because Fresno St. QBs havent transitioned well to NFL.— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) May 9, 2014
Bryan Fischer of NFL.com doesn't want to hear about quality of competition, though, considering Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles have largely avoided the same kind of criticism:
Always interesting to hear the competition angle come up more w/ Bridgewater than it did with Bortles (same league) or Carr (MWC)— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) May 9, 2014
Carr's college numbers are certainly impressive, as ESPN's Chris Mortensen helps highlight:
Derek Carr #OAKPick Holds over 25 school records including 12,842 yards 113 TD. Will join Raiders QB room that includes Matt Schaub— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) May 9, 2014
In addition, former NFL MVP Kurt Warner believes that the Fresno State signal-caller has one of the best arms in the draft, via NFL.com's Ian Rapoport:
Kurt Warner is saying Derek Carr is the most gifted thrower in the draft. That was a consistent theme talking to OCs and QB coaches.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 9, 2014
That's the good.
The bad is that Carr still has little talent around him in Oakland. Sports on Earth's Michael Tanier wondered if he was better off with the Bulldogs:
Carr had a better supporting cast at Fresno State.— Michael Tanier (@MikeTanier) May 9, 2014
Carr also struggled under heavy pressure, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Given the Raiders' problems in pass protection last year, he may not be afforded a ton of time in the pocket:
Derek Carr: 30.9% comp when under duress, lowest of any top 10 QB prospect. Raiders QBs were pressured at the 4th-highest pct #OAKpick— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 9, 2014
Raiders fans have had few reasons to cheer over the last decade or so, and most of that has been a result of the team's inability to draft well. You can't build a winning team without nailing your draft picks.
Things seem to be changing in Oakland, though. Between Carr and Mack, the Raiders couldn't have done much better with their first two selections.
Oakland also has veteran Matt Schaub on the roster, so the team has flexibility and time for the rookie to get comfortable. If they can add another playmaker to the receiving corps and continue to bolster the offensive line, Carr could potentially be in a good position in time.