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Derek Carr underrated
Raiders QB Derek Carr isn’t a future hall-of-fame legend like Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady but he may be the most underrated quarterback in the NFL today, from his stats to his on field play.
The Las Vegas Raiders seem to be trending upwards under Jon Gruden, who is in his second stint as the teams head coach.
The Raiders defense needs to vastly improve in 2021. Only six teams gave up more yards than Vegas did. They also ranked 29th in sacks in 2020 with only 21.
The Raiders were in the bottom third of the league in interceptions too. Only nine teams gave up more yards-per-attempt than Vegas did (7.5). All these teams had one thing in common, none of them made the postseason.
Trade Derek Carr?
There have been talks of the Raiders trading Derek Carr. Rumors came out at the beginning of February that the Raiders might be interested in trading him and that there were other teams asking about his availability.
My first thought was Derek Carr is a very good and underrated quarterback. Trading him might come back to bite the Raiders in the ass.
I can’t imagine that Gruden doesn’t like Carr. If he wasn’t sure about him when he took the Raiders job, he must be convinced now. Recently the Raiders organization reportedly said they weren’t actively shopping their quarterback.
What I can plainly see in evaluating Carr is that he is one of the very good quarterbacks in the NFL. He is good enough to lead a team to the playoffs. Anything beyond that is unknown and out of his hands. The Raiders aren’t a playoff team because of other issues with the team, not the quarterback.
Even now, some fans want back-up and former 2nd overall pick Marcus Mariota to start for the Raiders, thinking he is the answer like when Nick Foles brought a super bowl title to Philadelphia for Eagles fans.
Washington reportedly is very interested in acquiring Carr. What he’s worth varies in the eyes of different people. I’ve heard two first round picks all the way to a second round pick.
Anyone who thinks Derek Carr is only worth a second round pick is a moron. He isn’t the elite-of-the-elite quarterback like Rodgers, Brady, or Patrick Mahomes but he is leading that next level of very good quarterbacks with the ability and talent to join the elite.
He was only 14th in the league with 517 pass attempts in 2020 but threw for over 4,000 yards. A better defense that puts the ball back in Carr’s hands is one way he could get more passing attempts.
Jon Gruden is a quarterback guru, despite this, his teams have always ran the ball. Gruden isn’t one of those QB coach’s that is pass, pass, and then pass again type-of-coaches. He has always kept his offenses pretty balanced and as a result Carr’s attempts went down since Gruden took over. Despite this his numbers have still increased overall.
What I Remember
Two moments stick out to me when I think of Derek Carr, the first is the season opener of his senior season at Fresno State.
The 2013 college football season started on a Thursday and what I remember is watching quarterback Derek Carr play Rutgers and passing for 465 yards and 5 touchdowns.
I thought “this guy is a top 5 pick in next years NFL draft”. Not because of his stats but rather his skillset, poise, and temperament. That season he won his 2nd straight MWC offensive player-of-the-year award.
Derek Carr’s stats read 5,083 passing yards for 50 td – 8 int.
He didn’t get drafted until the 2nd round of the draft though. I chalked this up to his brother’s failures as the first overall pick of the 2002 NFL Draft. David Carr didn’t live up to the expectations that were expected from him.
I knew Derek was not David Carr, and I thought the Raiders got a steal drafting him with the 36th overall pick.
The second thing it just happened within the last 6-7 months. I was on twitter and people were talking about Carson Wentz and someone said something about Derek Carr.
The tweet was pertaining to wasn’t Carr supposed to be good. It made me look up his stats, this was prior to the 2020 season. It showed Carr just threw for over 4,000 yards for a second straight season in 2019.
I was surprised when I saw his numbers because they were better than his three pro-bowl seasons in almost every statistical category. I was caught off guard by the solid but silent season he just had. His touchdowns were down but he still threw 21 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions. It wasn’t like he threw a lot of interceptions.
Any talk about him seemed to have negative connotations, like he was regressing, but this was not the case at all. So I paid extra close attention to him in 2020. Derek Carr is idiotically underrated by media and fans alike.
In 2020 the Raiders QB entered his 8th season as the starter and had his had his best receiving tandem to date to throw to in rookie 1st round selection Henry Ruggs and ex-Eagles veteran Nelson Agholor.
Derek Carr’s stats
Before I get into numbers, Raiders QB Derek Carr has the poise, leadership, arm strength, and intangibles to be a top NFL quarterback. He isn’t far off now.
He just threw for 4,103 yards. His third straight 4,000+ season. Ten quarterbacks threw for more yards but only one of those had less passing attempts than Carr, Kirk Cousins had one less pass attempt than Carr had.
Many QB’s had 50-100 more attempts than him. He threw for 27 td – 8 int.
Completing over 67% of his passes. This was down from 2019, when Carr had the 10th best completion rate in NFL history (70.4).
To add some relevance to this, six of those top 10 completion rates all-time are from future hall-of-fame quarterback Drew Brees.
It could’ve been said that Carr’s quarterback rating needed to improve. That would have had to been said prior to 2019 though.
In 2018 his rating was 93.9.
In 2019 it rose to 100.8
2020-101.4 QB rating
Carr was 2nd in the NFL in game winning drives in 2020 (5) and tied for 3rd in 4th quarter comebacks (3).
There are a handful of quarterbacks that are an upgrade from Derek Carr but the number isn’t large when you factor in that he’s only going to be 30-years-old in 2021.
He is top 10 in almost every category and he shouldn’t be undervalued anymore. If Derek Carr receives 50-100 more passing attempts in a season, his stats will really explode.
Derek Carr is putting up very good stats year after year and they’re very consistent. The fact that the Las Vegas Raiders aren’t a playoff team isn’t on him, he is doing what a winning quarterback in the NFL is supposed to do.