Derek Carr to Replace Aaron Rodgers at 2016 NFL Pro Bowl

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2016

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) looks to throw against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of their NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Jan, 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)
Reed Hoffmann/Associated Press

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was named Wednesday to the 2016 NFL Pro Bowl, where he will replace Green Bay Packers signal-caller Aaron Rodgers.

“First, I want to thank God for the opportunity to be able to go to Hawaii,” Carr said in a press release on the Raiders' official website. “Secondly, I want to thank my family, my friends, my teammates, my coaches and all of Raider Nation for their support. Third, I want to thank everyone who voted for me and all of the opposing players and coaches that voted for me. That means more to me than they know. Go Raiders!”

In his second season out of Fresno State, Carr threw for 3,987 yards and 32 touchdowns against 13 interceptions.   

Rodgers has been named to five Pro Bowls but has sat out the last three. He was replaced last season by Andy Dalton and by Eli Manning in 2013. It's unclear what led to Rodgers bowing out this time, but he was listed on the injury report this season with shoulder and leg ailments. The former MVP was nonetheless successful in completing his second straight 16-game season, throwing for 3,821 yards and 31 touchdowns against eight picks.

Pro Bowl berths have largely become meaningless because of this trend of players avoiding the game, but this feels like a rare exception. Carr was seen by most as a first-round talent, falling at least in part because of the association with his brother, David, who busted out of the NFL after being a No. 1 overall pick. The stigma helped the Raiders land Carr with the No. 36 pick in 2014, where he's established himself as one of the game's best young quarterbacks.

Carr saw marked increases in completion percentage, yards per attempt and touchdowns while leading Oakland to a four-win improvement. Pro Football Focus graded him as the 11th-best quarterback in football this season. Carr was the highest among first- or second-year players.

He becomes the fourth Raiders player selected for this year's Pro Bowl, joining safety Charles Woodson, fullback Marcel Reece and defensive end Khalil Mack. While Woodson and Reece are elder statesman who have been around the league for some time, the ascent of Mack and Carr proves Oakland has at least one building block player on each side of the ball. With wideout Amari Cooper and running back Latavius Murray each named as alternates, the future is finally looking bright after years of darkness on the Bay.


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