Ever since Jon Gruden was hired by the Las Vegas Raiders, this has been Derek Carr’s best offseason. The team had credible rumors suggesting that both Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers wanted to get traded to them. As of now, there haven’t been any legitimate rumors suggesting that the feelings were mutual.
It’s hard for many to accept as Carr has become polarizing but the Raiders like their quarterback and believe they can win with him. In fact, many around the NFL are very high on him. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler did a comprehensive piece where he spoke to NFL executives, evaluators, coaches and players to determine the top-10 quarterbacks.
Though Carr wasn’t listed in the top-10, he was an honorable mention.
“He finally cut it loose as a passer last year. He was much more willing to challenge the defense. He was a high-percentage guy who didn’t attack tight windows. But he did that this year,” an NFL personnel evaluator told Fowler.
Fowler also noted that there were a number of officials who believes he should be in the top-10.
Many have already dismissed Carr as one of the league’s best quarterbacks but it’s clear that he does have his fans around the NFL.
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Should Carr Be in the Top 10?
Obviously, Carr isn’t in the Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson category of quarterbacks. Those guys are on a different planet. However, there could be an argument that he belongs in the top 10. Dak Prescott, Kyler Murray, Justin Herbert and Lamar Jackson are all listed ahead of Carr. There’s an argument to be made that he’s at least better than one or two of them.
Prescott has had significantly better help to work with throughout his career and hasn’t won a lot of games since his rookie season. Herbert has one year under his belt and didn’t have to play against hostile crowds. It’s far too early to suggest he’s already one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks. Murray threw for fewer yards and touchdowns than Carr last season while throwing more interceptions. The Arizona Cardinals matched the Raiders 8-8 record so it’s not like he’s leading his team to more wins.
Carr is obviously a better passer than Jackson but he’s such a dynamic playmaker and wins a ton of games. He’s rightfully ranked ahead of Carr right now. There are arguments to be made for all of the quarterbacks listed about but Carr isn’t as far removed from being considered a top-seven quarterback as many might believe.
What Does Carr Need to Do in 2021 to Get More Respect?
Simply put, Carr needs to win more games if he’s going to keep moving up these lists. Herbert and Murray get a pass because they haven’t been in the NFL long enough. Carr is entering his eighth season and only has one winning season. He can put up great stats all he wants but he has to win some games.
This season, Carr has a great running back tandem, an elite tight end and an exciting group of young wide receivers. The offensive line is a bit of a concern but it won’t be a terrible group. Carr could be in for his biggest season yet and leading the Raiders to only their second playoff berth since 2002 would do a lot to help his image.