Oakland Raiders: Full Position Breakdown and Depth Chart Analysis at Quarterback
The Oakland Raiders’ quarterback position is among the team’s most improved both for 2014 and the future ahead.
As with most teams in the NFL, the QB competition will be one of the more closely watched aspects of training camp and the preseason action.
With the trade acquisition of Matt Schaub addressing the short term and second-round pick Derek Carr addressing the future, how will the Raiders’ quarterback depth chart shape up for 2014?
Here is a full breakdown of the Raiders’ quarterback group heading into the upcoming season.
Starter: Matt Schaub
Although the drafting of Derek Carr makes the Raiders’ future at the quarterback position all the more bright, there is little doubt that Matt Schaub enters 2014 as the starter.
In Schaub, the Raiders now have the proven veteran signal-caller they have attempted to find so many times since the retirement of Rich Gannon.
A 10-year pro, Schaub eclipsed the 4,000-yard plateau in each of the three seasons in which he started all 16 games in Houston, throwing for a career-best 4,770 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2009.
Many will point to his down 2013 campaign in the case against him moving forward, but that season remains the outlier in an otherwise successful and consistent career in the NFL.
Of course, the record set for consecutive games with interceptions taken back for touchdowns does him no favors, but the Texans’ struggles were a result of much more than Schaub’s play alone.
An offense long reliant on the running game suddenly began to struggle in that area, often having to become a pass-dominant attack that proved to be relatively predictable in its concepts.
As Schaub said in a recent interview with the Contra Costa Times’ Jerry McDonald, one of the more exciting aspects of coming to Oakland will be him having the kind of control in the offense and at the line of scrimmage that he rarely had in Houston.
Whether or not a veteran quarterback having a lack of control in the offense was the root of Houston’s problems in 2013, we will never know.
Either way, it was clear that Schaub was in need of a fresh start, and that’s what he is now getting in Oakland.
While he isn’t the long-term answer, the Raiders’ quarterback position is in much better shape after acquiring Schaub this offseason.
No. 2: Matt McGloin
With Schaub entrenched as the starter, the competition for the Raiders’ No. 2 quarterback spot will be interesting to watch throughout the preseason.
While many will assume that Derek Carr will have the job as a result of his second-round draft status, that may not be the case.
If the plan is to have Carr sit and learn at first, putting him No. 2 on the depth chart—and thus just one play away from being forced into action—somewhat defeats that purpose.
As a result, expect Matt McGloin to enter the season as Schaub’s backup, giving the Raiders a capable option at the position with some game experience should he be called upon.
As an undrafted rookie out of Penn State, McGloin surprised and impressed many with his play in 2013.
While he only led the Raiders to one win in his six starts, it was the offense’s timing and rhythm with him under center that made for a noticeable difference in overall efficiency.
That kind of unexpected impact with little to no seasoning gives McGloin a bright future as an NFL backup quarterback at the very least.
The ability to come in when needed and run the offense the way it's supposed to be run is highly valued in a backup quarterback, and the Raiders may have a good one for quite a while with McGloin.
No. 3: Derek Carr
After a long search, the Raiders may finally have their quarterback of the future in this year’s second-round selection, Derek Carr.
No, he likely won’t play right away, but that could be in the best interest of both his development as a quarterback and the current coaching staff’s need to win now.
As mentioned in the breakdowns of the other two quarterbacks ahead of him, that does put Carr in the third spot on the Raiders depth chart, but such a title is hardly indicative of his bright future with the team.
By the time the 2015 season rolls around, when Schaub’s cap hit is significantly lower, Carr could very well step in as the starter and take over for good.
As he proved throughout his collegiate career at Fresno State and in his predraft workouts, he has every physical tool to succeed at the pro level.
The areas where he did struggle, such as pocket presence under pressure, can certainly be developed in his rookie campaign with a veteran like Schaub to learn from.
Ideally for the Raiders, Schaub’s veteran experience allows for some immediate and noticeable improvement on the offensive side of the ball, while they can continue to build the unit at other positions for the future.
Either way, although they will be patient with his development, Carr undoubtedly comes in as the Raiders’ quarterback of the future and could give them the kind of talent and continuity they have lacked at the position for quite some time.
No. 4: Trent Edwards
Likely just a camp arm for the preseason, Trent Edwards is back with the Raiders again and sits fourth on their quarterback depth chart.
While he is unlikely to make the final roster, having a veteran quarterback like Edwards in the fold at this point can prove important down the road.
If injuries hit the position during the regular season, or even beforehand, having the ability to sign a free-agent quarterback who already knows the offense well is extremely important.
While he hasn’t been a starter in the league for quite some time, that knowledge of the offense—if ever needed on short notice—would make him a far better option than any other free-agent quarterback available at the time.
As such, although he will certainly be afforded the opportunity to compete in camp, Edwards could essentially be the Raiders’ fourth quarterback even if not on the final roster.
Of course, a team never wants to get that low on their depth chart, but they must be prepared for such a situation nonetheless.