NFL Nation: Marc Wilson

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.

Or ...

[+] EnlargeDerek Carr
AP Photo/Eugene TannerIf 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.

Final Word: AFC West

December, 9, 2011
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 14:

[+] EnlargeTim Tebow
AP Photo/Lenny IgnelziTim Tebow keeps on finding ways for the Denver Broncos to win.
Can the Oakland Raiders beat the Green Bay Packers at their own game? The 12-0 Packers are winning because they have perhaps one of the most dangerous passing games in the history of the NFL. If the Raiders are going to be the team that knocks Green Bay off its historic pace, they may have to beat the Packers with their passing. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer is leading the NFL with an average pass of 10.9 air yards. Oakland quarterback Jason Campbell was among the league leaders in the category before he was injured. The Packers have allowed 21 pass plays of 30 yards or more this season -- the most in the NFL. Raiders coach Hue Jackson likes to air it out, so don’t expect him to get shy in Green Bay as the Raiders try to pull off the upset.

Will Tebow’s epic fourth-quarter heroics continue? The allure of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is how he has become such a clutch performer. Denver has won five games in a row. Of the past seven matches, five were decided late in the game. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Tebow has a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or in overtime in five of his 10 career starts. He is tied with Scott Brunner and Marc Wilson for the most by any player in his first 10 career starts since the 1970 merger.

Could the San Diego Chargers try to beat the Buffalo Bills with the shotgun? Chief among Philip Rivers' struggles this season was passing from the shotgun. According to ESPN Stats & Information, that was not an issue in a 38-14 win at Jacksonville on Monday night. Rivers completed 14 of 15 passes, averaged 13.6 yards per attempt and threw touchdowns from the formation. In the first 11 games of the season, Rivers completed just 60.3 percent of his passes and averaged just 7.6 yards per attempt in the shotgun. He has also thrown 14 of his 17 interceptions in the formation.

Coaching class of 2009 battle: When the Kansas City Chiefs visit the New York Jets on Sunday, it will pit two of the more successful coaches of the 2009 class. Nine coaches were hired after the 2008 season, including Todd Haley in Kansas City and Rex Ryan with the Jets. Many of the nine coaches have struggled, including Denver’s Josh McDaniels and the Raiders' Tom Cable (who was hired as the full-time coach after ending 2008 as the interim coach). McDaniels and Cable have already been discarded. Ryan and the Indianapolis Colts' Jim Caldwell are the only coaches in the class to have a winning percentage above .500. Ryan’s winning percentage is .613. Caldwell, of course, is in danger of being fired with his team 0-12 without star quarterback Peyton Manning. Haley joins Ryan and Caldwell as the only coaches in the 2009 class to take their teams to the playoffs. Haley is 19-25 as the Chiefs’ coach. A win over Ryan in New York could keep at bay the speculation that Haley could be fired at the end of the season.

Raiders need to get Bush going: In addition to hitting big plays in the passing game, Oakland will need to run the ball well to control the clock. The Raiders have one of the best running attacks in the NFL, but it was kept in check at Miami. Oakland had just 46 rushing yards and Michael Bush had just 18 yards on 10 carries. Bush has to have a big day in Green Bay. He has been mostly good as Darren McFadden's injury replacement. Bush has two games this season with 30 carries. The only player in Raiders history with more is Marcus Allen, who had three in a season. If Bush ties Allen’s mark Sunday, it would go a long way in keeping the ball out of Aaron Rodgers' hands.


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