When the Tom Brady’s, Aaron Rodgers’ and Drew Brees’ of the NFL decide to call it a career, it’s an interesting scenario to look at what the next run of elite NFL quarterbacks could look like. Obviously, Rodgers still has years left, as does Ben Roethlisberger. Cam Newton is basically still just a kid when it comes to the age of NFL quarterbacks these days, but before long, the league is going to see a major shift at quarterback. This is where Raiders QB Derek Carr comes into the mix, and he’s the type of player who has the potential to be one of the best players in the league.
Looking at what Carr has done through seven games in 2016 is impressive, but it doesn’t do him justice completely. He’s completed 65.9 percent of his passes for 1,808 yards, 13 touchdowns and just three interceptions. By far the most impressive aspect of Carr’s game is his development and how he’s risen to the top-tier level.
After completing just 58.1 percent of his passes as a rookie in 2014, while also throwing for 3,270 yards, 21 touchdowns with 12 interceptions, it’s been a consistent incline from there. Carr’s completion percentage, yardage and quarterback rating are all on a steady incline. His touchdowns are right on the fringe of increasing from the 32 he threw last season as well. Finally, and possibly most importantly, Carr has done an excellent job of protecting the football and is on pace for a major decline in interceptions and fumbles this season.
While the Raiders offense is also improving around Carr, he’s become more of a leader and has helped to make the lives of both wide receiver’s Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree a whole lot easier. Carr’s ability to take over and dominate games is obvious by not only his play, but also by the lack of a running game that the Raiders have had this season.
The leading rusher on the Raiders currently is backup DeAndre Washington, who has 235 yards, while starter Latavius Murray (who missed two games) has 231 yards and five touchdowns. The touchdowns are obviously helpful, but Carr has really been getting the job done in a spot where opponents know that the Raiders are going to throw the ball.
When comparing Carr to the rest of the NFL, he’s sitting at No. 13 in completion percentage but has the eighth-most passing attempts this season. He also is tied for seventh in passing touchdowns. While the Raiders’ third-year quarterback isn’t quite one of the NFL’s elite just yet, he’s on his way and if he continues to trend in this direction, at this pace, it’s not going to be long before he’s called a top-three player in the league.
It’s time to buy into the hype because for the first time since 2002, the Raiders, who are 5-2 on the season, look poised to make it back to the postseason. While it’s unknown what they’ll be able to do in the playoffs, their offense is clicking on all cylinders and their defense at least seems to be making strides in the right direction. Even if the Raiders aren’t Super Bowl-bound in 2016, they may be within the next few seasons, largely thanks to Carr’s stellar and consistent play.