Warning signs for Derek Carr
It’s quarterback ranking season in the NFL, and one of the more intriguing results of the one produced by ESPN’s Mike Sando — for which he polled anonymous executives and coaches throughout the league — was a surprisingly high ranking for the Raiders’ Derek Carr. He ranked just behind the likes of Ryan Tannehill, Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick, tied with Jay Cutler at No. 20, and ranked just ahead of Sam Bradford, Nick Foles and fellow 2014 draft pick Teddy Bridgewater.
Our recent article on rookie performances compared Carr’s rookie year to those of past QBs, and the outlook wasn’t promising. His comparables include Mark Sanchez, Brandon Weeden and Matthew Stafford — and of that group, only Stafford has rebounded to become a solid NFL starting QB.
There were certainly things to like about Carr’s rookie season, including his performance in Oakland’s 24-13 win over the 49ers, and his effectiveness on intermediate throws throughout the year. But overall, his body of work lagged well behind the rest of the league, and he ranked No. 38 out of 39 qualifying QBs in our grading system (only the Jaguars’ Blake Bortles graded out lower).
Bridgewater, the other 2014 draft pick Carr ranked ahead of, Bridgewater posted much better numbers in some key categories. In terms of accuracy percentage, for example, Carr ranked 30th in the league while Bridgewater ranked fourth, and under pressure that gap grew, with Bridgewater ranking No. 1 in the NFL and Carr ranking No. 32 among the 39 qualifiers.
It’s too early to write off Carr’s potential, but the numbers don’t support him as the 20th-best quarterback in the league — and they provide more reason for optimism for the Vikings’ second-year starter.