The 2014 NFL Draft couldn’t have worked out any better for the Oakland Raiders. It was as if the football gods themselves reached down and gifted the franchise with good fortune. Perhaps, after watching the Raiders flounder around the league for more than a decade, the gods simply took pity on Oakland and decided to throw them a bone. Whatever the case may be, the Raiders were given a gift when beastly LB Khalil Mack landed in their laps in the first round, and then QB Derek Carr landed in their laps in the second.
Their 2014 draft haul may have netted the Raiders the foundation for NFL success for years to come. But the question on a lot of people’s minds right now, seems to be the same as when the offseason started — who will be under center for the Silver and Black when the season opens?
The QB question was one most people thought was settled with the GM Reggie McKenzie brought in Houston Texans castoff Matt Schaub, and then jettisoned Terrelle Pryor. After the deal for Schaub, head coach Dennis Allen seemed to reaffirm the belief that the QB situation was settled when he said:
We brought Matt Schaub in to be our starting quarterback. We feel very confident that he’s going to be able to come in and function in that role and be outstanding for us. Right now, Matt Schaub is our starting quarterback. I definitely can see Matt Schaub being the quarterback of the Oakland Raiders for more than just a year or two. This guy can play for a while.
After dealing Pryor to the Seattle Seahawks, and naming second-year QB Matt McGloin the team’s backup, Oakland’s QB situation seemed set and ready. But with the addition of Carr — a player they didn’t really expect to land — has the thinking in Oakland changed? Certainly, after the team’s rookie minicamp, Allen seems to be singing a slightly different tune:
We’re going to let things play out. Obviously, we brought Matt Schaub in and Matt Schaub is our starting quarterback. [...] he’s been a top 10 quarterback in this league and he’s performed at a high level.
We like Derek Carr and we’re going to let him go out and compete and see how things work out. You can’t have enough good quarterbacks in this league. You never know when injuries are going to occur and you’ve got to be prepared for that. When you have an opportunity with a guy like Derek Carr that you feel good about, then you go out and get him.
It seems somewhat unlikely that Carr will actually be able to supplant Schaub as the team’s starter this season. It’s more likely that the Raiders will hand him a clipboard and tell him to learn from the veteran. But you never really know. If Schaub shows that he hasn’t rebounded from his disastrous 2013 season, and Carr really impresses in camp — and with Allen’s recent comments — it seems like the team could be setting itself up for something of a quarterback controversy.
Change happens on a dime in the NFL — just ask Matt Flynn. If Schaub slips up, and with the team seeming to be overlooking McGloin in favor of their rookie prospect, we could see Carr under center in Oakland sooner rather than later.