Saturday, May 10, 2014
Plan for Carr to learn behind Schaub
By Paul Gutierrez
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The conundrum, for lack of a better word, facing the Oakland Raiders as they considered their second-round pick, the fourth choice of the day, went something like this:
Take a player who, if all actually goes well, does not play a down next season, even if he is the presumptive franchise quarterback of the future.
If everything goes according to plan, Derek Carr will play little if at all for the Raiders this season.
Select a player who can presumably make an instant impact for the Raiders as they enter Year 1 of their reconstruction.
Oakland went with the former and it makes all the sense in the world, unless it doesn't.
Confused? Don't be, because while tabbing of Fresno State's Derek Carr was met with confusion in some corners at 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway, he is part of a long-term plan by the Raiders. It's one that Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie witnessed firsthand in Green Bay.
Think Aaron Rodgers biding his time behind Brett Favre for three years with the Packers. Now, I'm not suggesting Matt Schaub is Favre, but you get the gist. The Raiders want Carr, who ran a high-octane spread offense his last two years almost exclusively out of the shotgun, to learn the intricacies of an NFL offense at the knee of Schaub.
And with the Raiders going all-in with Schaub as their starter for at least two years -- then again, they also seemed sold on Matt Flynn last year -- it gives Carr time to marinate in the NFL game.
“Right, we stayed true to our board,” Raiders director of player personnel Joey Clinkscales said. “We think Matt Schaub is our starter. We're confident with that and Derek will come in and he'll learn, and wherever he fits in he'll fit in. We're comfortable with the pick and knowing that he will come in and develop the way we would like to see him develop.
“He's a very mature kid. He's had a lot of life experiences that the regular 22-year-old hasn't had. He has a family, he's married, he has a child also. We're excited to get a guy like that in the program.”
The question, then, is this: Is Carr prepared to sit, or does he anticipate competing for the starting gig?
"That's for the coaches to decide," Carr said in a conference call with Bay Area reporters Friday afternoon. “The coaches know who they're getting, and I told them, I appreciate your calling, you know what you're getting. I'm going to come in and work, I'm going to come in and compete and I'm going to try and make the team better. I'm not a selfish guy, that's for sure, and I can't wait to get coached by those coaches.”
At Fresno State last season, Carr passed for 5,082 yards with 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions in completing 68.7 percent of his passes. And while his 74 completions of at least 20 yards led the FBS, 237 of his 659 passes were either at or behind the line of scrimmage, with an FBS-high 143 screen passes, per ESPN Stats & Info. “As a result, Carr's average pass attempt traveled 7 yards past the line of scrimmage, the fewest air yards per attempt of any top QB prospect,” per ESPN Stats & Info.
Plus, his completion percentage of 30.9 percent while under duress was the lowest of any top QB prospect, per ESPN Stats & Info. It all adds to the notion that Carr could stand to have a redshirt year, so to speak, in the NFL.
Since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, Carr is the sixth quarterback taken in the first two rounds of the draft by the Raiders, following Jeb Blount (second round, 1976), Marc Wilson (first round, 1980), Todd Marinovich (first, 1991), Marques Tuiasosopo (second, 2001) and JaMarcus Russell (first, 2007).
Carr, meanwhile, said the Raiders have always been in his family's blood. His uncle Lon Boyett was a training camp tight end with Oakland in 1978.
And watching the trials and tribulations of his brother David, the No. 1 pick of the 2002 NFL draft by the Houston Texans, should only help him.
“Oh, my goodness, it's such a blessing,” the younger Carr said. “I learned everything that he did right and everything that he did wrong. He's told me. He told me that if he could do anything, he hopes he made the path smoother for me as I transition into the NFL.”
Watching from the sideline is probably the best path, at least early in his career.