Oakland Raiders rookie Derek Carr — a lot like his older brother, David Carr, a former number one overall draft pick of the Houston Texans — has all of the tools to be a successful starting quarterback in the NFL. When watching Derek and David, they are very similar in ability and playing style. Both possess the prototypical size scouts look for in a quarterback and both are above average athletically. They both have strong arms and can make every throw an NFL coach could ask for. They both had heralded careers and filled up the stat sheets in college. They both were drafted by teams with hopes that they could resurrect their franchises.
Derek, however, has two vital and invaluable advantages that David never had. First, Derek had a front row seat watching David go through a very up-and-down (mostly down) career as a starting quarterback in the NFL. David has nearly a decade of experience as an NFL quarterback and can easily mentor Derek on the nuances of life in the NFL both on and off the field. If I were running the Raiders, I would think long and hard about bringing David Carr on board, either as a player or coach, to keep a close eye on and aide in the development of his younger brother. Who would do a better job of keeping Derek accountable to being a professional than his older brother, whom he idolized growing up?
Second, Derek is stepping into a much better situation than David stepped into. Say what you want about the Oakland Raiders and the disaster of a franchise they’ve been over the last decade, but General Manager Reggie McKenzie has quietly done a great job of cleaning up the mess and building a solid foundation for the future of the Raiders.
If things go as expected, Derek will not see the field as a rookie. If David had it to do all over, I’m sure he would have loved to have that luxury as a rookie. David never really got a fair chance to develop into a franchise quarterback in Houston after being thrust into the starting role from day one. He spent nearly as much time on his back recovering from being sacked as he did under center taking snaps.
Oakland already has a better offensive line in place than Houston did when David was quarterbacking them and the Raiders also have an established veteran quarterback in Matt Schaub that Derek could also learn from. Throw in the massive amounts of salary cap space the Raiders have in coming years, and McKenzie could build quite a solid supporting cast for Derek when he eventually takes the reigns from Schaub.
With a schedule including two games against each AFC West team, and the entire NFC West, Derek Carr should be thankful the Raiders plan to bring him along slowly. If he doesn’t like it, he can just look at what happened to his older brother.