Putting Derek Carr's rookie minicamp performance in perspective

Thearon W. Henderson

Last week the Raiders held their rookie minicamp. It's the first of a series of off-season activities and the first look at the Raiders' 2014 drafted and undrafted rookies. The primary story that came from it was that of the positive performance of second round pick quarterback Derek Carr. But before we go off the deep end, let's put that performance in perspective.

First of all, it was one practice. The rookie minicamp lasted three days but media was only allowed to attend one of them.

Second of all, we've been here before. A few times, in fact.

Last year it was fourth round pick Tyler Wilson who was being talked about for his performance in rookie minicamp. I personally didn't see much to write home about but there were others who saw a lot of promise. Then some of the national media types who weren't even there began parroting the reports from the rookie minicamp and suddenly Tyler Wilson was going to light it up for the Raiders. He was passed up on the depth chart in training camp by Matt McGloin and then didn't make the team out of camp. So much for that.

In 2012 the story was fifth round pick Juron Criner. I can tell you, he absolutely did look like the real deal in rookie minicamp. The catches he made had teammates, coaches, and media making sounds like there was some kind of fireworks display going off. He seemed to have read his own press clippings a bit too much and didn't get a contract signed until the day the players reported to training camp. He was instantly buried on the depth chart and couldn't dig himself out. Now his presence on the team is a shock to many (myself included). He is a dead man walking with the introduction of James Jones and a new crop of rookies.

This brings me to the third point - these are rookies facing rookies.

Of course they are going to perform well. They are facing the same players they mostly dominated in college. They already proved they could perform against those players. Once the NFL players show up, a whole new challenge arises.

That's not to say what was seen from Carr can't be a sign of things to come. At least he was impressive. If he had looked terrible, that would have certainly meant something.

Three years ago it was Denarius Moore who was making eye-popping catches in rookie minicamp and he continued to do so, eventually earning a starting job. He has had his issues as an NFL receiver but overall, he's performed pretty well for a fifth round pick.

The Raiders' begin their OTA's May 26. That will be the next step in the development of Derek Carr. It will still be way too soon to judge what kind of quarterback he will be but we will at least be able to start stacking up a body of work by which to appropriately judge where he stands as an NFL player.

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