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Friday, May 9, 2014
Raiders pick Derek Carr in 2nd

By Paul Gutierrez


ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The pick: Derek Carr, quarterback, Fresno State

The Oakland Raiders liked Carr from the start, and many saw them jumping into the first round to draft the record-setting quarterback from Fresno State, who passed for 5,082 yards with 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions while completing 68.7 percent of his passes last season. But, like their first-round pick in linebacker Khalil Mack, the player fell into their lap, to their surprise and giddiness. Carr’s 74 completions of 20 yards or longer last season led the FBS. He is just the sixth quarterback taken by the Raiders in the first two rounds of the draft since the 1970 merger, along with JaMarcus Russell (2007), Marques Tuiasosopo (2001), Todd Marinovich (1991), Marc Wilson (1980) and Jeb Blount (1976).

My take: The Raiders are already all-in with Matt Schaub under center, but they also want, and need, a blue-chip prospect to learn at Schaub's knee. Think Aaron Rodgers waiting three seasons behind Brett Favre … kind of. It makes all the sense in the world, unless Oakland needed an instant-impact player in the second round more. Carr fits the new-regime Raiders' profile of a high-character player with a high football IQ and desire. Still, according to ESPN Stats & Information, Carr had a completion percentage of just 30.9 percent when under duress, the lowest percentage of any top quarterback prospect. And when not under pressure, his completion percentage jumped to 72 percent. By the way, Raiders quarterbacks were under pressure on 32 percent of their dropbacks in 2013, fourth highest in the league.

Wild-card category: The backup quarterback is always the most popular guy on the team, and if the Raiders had drafted, say, Johnny Manziel, the call to play him right away would have been deafening. Instead, with a patient Carr learning from Schaub, there is no real need to rush Carr on the field -- unless Schaub totally bombs out. Carr is not a mad bomber in old-school Raider fashion, as 237 of his 659 passes were either at or behind the line of scrimmage last season, leading the FBS with 143 screen passes, per ESPN Stats & Information. As such, his average pass traveled a mere 7 yards past the line of scrimmage, the lowest air yards per attempt of any top quarterback prospect. So yeah, he’ll fit right in with this vision of a West Coast offense, so to speak.

What's next: Barring any trades, the Raiders hold the third pick of the third round at No. 67 overall. The Raiders still have needs on both the offensive and defensive lines, as well as in the secondary.