The Oakland Raiders selected Derek Carr with the 36th pick in the NFL Draft. The Raiders, under General Manager Reggie McKenzie, have struggled to find a quarterback in their first two years. The Raiders have started four quarterbacks since 2012 and three of them are no longer on the roster. Matt McGloin, the only surviving of the four, will be the third quarterback on the depth chart in 2014.
The Raiders acquired Matt Schaub this offseason, which means Carr could sit out his first year. Schaub gives the Raiders a veteran quarterback who has had success in the NFL, but he wasn't the long-term answer. If Schaub's struggles from 2013 carry over to 2014, Carr could be the starter early, but I imagine McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen will make sure their young quarterback has enough around him to succeed.
What Carr Brings to the Table
Carr has a big arm and the ability to make every throw needed to succeed in the NFL. In 2014, the Raiders were limited in what throws were made. Terrelle Pryor had a strong arm, but his strength was his running ability. McGloin helped improve the passing game when he was the starter, but he was limited because of his size and athletic ability.
Carr won't be limited and will be able to make every throw on the field. He has a strong arm and a quick release. The Raiders will have a quarterback that understands the importance of getting rid of the ball early. He throws with great touch and can laser the ball into tight spaces when he needs to.
Athletic with a Strong Pocket Presence
Carr is a pure pocket passer, but he is also athletic enough to make plays outside the pocket. More importantly, he knows how to shuffle around within the pocket to extend the play. Oakland didn't have a quarterback that could do that last year consistently.
Carr can scramble for first downs when needed, but he'll move within and outside the pocket with his head down field looking to throw. He also gets the ball out of his hands quickly which will be key for him and the Raiders offense.
Where Carr Fits in 2014
It's very possible that Carr can come in and win the starting spot right away. I think he's that good and I am not fully sold on Schaub. If Schaub is the same guy from 2013, the job will be Carr's right away. However, it may be better for both Carr and the Raiders to sit 2014 out.
The Raiders need to make sure Carr's offense around him is good enough to help him succeed. The Raiders made some nice moves this offseason to improve the offensive line and their run game. I can see a situation where Carr plays in the middle of the season because the coaching staff feels the offense is ready for him.
However, if Carr doesn't start in 2014, I fully expect him to be the guy in 2015. The Raiders left their options open with Schaub after 2014 when they restructured his contract.
Rookie Expectations for Carr
There are two possibilities with Carr in 2014. The first one would be him sitting behind Schaub for the season and working on his game on and off the field. He's a good quarterback, but does need to fine tune some of his mechanics. Having a full season to understand the offense would be great for him. If he does that, we should see him take over in 2015 and by that point, I'm confident that he will be 100% ready to be a solid starter in the league.
At this point, I'm confident enough in Carr's abilities that I think he could win the starting quarterback job. If he does, I expect him to put up some decent numbers, but make rookie mistakes. Carr likes to take chances and will sometimes force throws. You can't do that in this league or the defense will make you pay.
If Schaub is the 2012 Schaub, the Raiders will win more games with him as the starter. He'll eliminate the rookie mistakes that Carr would make. If Schaub turns out to be the same guy as last season, the Raider Nation will have an early chance to look at their quarterback of the future.
If he starts, Rookie Expectations: 22 TDs, 16 INTs and 3,500 yards passing.