One of the most notable storylines at this year’s NFL Combine involves Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders. Not counting free agents, Carr is possibly the best quarterback who could be available for a team that needs one. The Raiders have done their best to praise Carr and make it seem like they’re going to stick with him in 2020, but until they flat out say he has the job, there’s going to be speculation that the team is making a change.
Mike Mayock has been a staunch defender of Carr while at the Combine, but even he admits that he’s evaluating the position. However, he still believes that the quarterback is the subject of some unfair criticism. Mayock was on NFL Network and dropped some knowledge about Carr.
“People don’t understand how good our quarterback is and it frustrates me a little bit because Derek Carr threw for 70 percent, 4,000 yards, almost a 3-to-1 touchdown to interception,” Mayock said on Friday.
“The real deal is I think we’re no. 7 in the league in third downs, we’re no. 11 in yards, and the disconnect was even though we’re 11 in yards, we’re 24 in points. We have to do a better job scoring points. That’s on our defense number one, we’ve got to be better defensively. We put too much pressure on our offense. We weren’t good in the red zone. We weren’t good goal to go. That’s not on Derek Carr. We’ve got to be better everywhere and I think people need to kind of pump the brakes a little bit and give the guy some credit.”
Tom Brady or Derek Carr Will Be the Likely Starter
Despite the Raiders waxing poetic about Carr at the Combine, it’s become apparent that the rumored interest in Tom Brady is probably real and they’d likely take him over their current starter if the opportunity is to present itself. While Brady will be 43 when the season starts, it’s hard to deny the kind of legitimacy he would bring to the team from day one.
If Brady lands elsewhere or stays put in New England, then the likely starter is Carr for 2020. There have been rumblings about Philip Rivers or Jameis Winston, but it’s hard to believe Jon Gruden would trade Carr, who turns the ball over very rarely, for a turnover machine like Winston or Rivers.
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Drafting a Quarterback Seems Very Possible
No matter what happens with Carr or Brady, the possibility remains they take a quarterback in the upcoming draft. They almost certainly will if they do sign Brady. The two names to watch are Jalen Hurts and Jordan Love. There are a number of strong prospects this year, but Gruden wants an athletic player who can make plays with their feet and Love or Hurts would provide that.
If the team signs Brady, Love becomes more possible with one of their two first-round picks. If they stick with Carr, they’ll probably wait to take Hurts in the third round because that’s less likely to upset their quarterback. Regardless of how everything plays out, the Raiders quarterback room should be more interesting this year.