It's draft time. Over the next month or so, leading up to the draft on April 30, we will hear just about every possible scenario imaginable. The latest comes from ESPN who is suggesting if Heisman winning Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is on the board when the Raiders make their selection at 4th overall, they should draft him as a replacement for Derek Carr.
Let the spit fly.
This isn't the first time in recent months we have heard someone suggest Derek Carr may not have the goods to be the Raiders franchise quarterback of the future.
A couple months ago numberFire.com put out the results of a study which suggested a high probability that Derek Carr was not the Raiders answer as a franchise quarterback. This study, not surprisingly, was met with a good deal of backlash from Raiders fans who believe Carr to be the quarterback their team has been looking for.
The ESPN piece put together by John McTigue adds the idea that the Raiders should move on now from Carr - their 2nd round pick (36 overall) in last year's draft, as opposed to the more popular opinion that they should draft weapons to build around him. That also is the stated plan of the Raiders organization.
While the idea of drafting Mariota to replace Carr in this draft may be highly debatable based on various factors, the results of the study that led to that suggestion have some numbers behind them and are worth noting.
Here is some of what he lays out as reasons the Raiders should seriously consider giving up on Carr after 16 rookie starts:
A deeper dive into Carr's numbers suggest his 2014 season left a lot to be desired, however. Carr finished the season with a 38.4 Total QBR, which ranked 28th out of 33 qualified quarterbacks. His QBR didn't rank favorably among other recent rookies, either. Of the 27 rookies to qualify since 2006 -- as far back as Total QBR data goes -- Carr's QBR ranks 15th, sandwiched between EJ Manuel (38.4) and Geno Smith (35.9).
Carr's QBR suffered because of minimal gains made on his passes. He averaged a mere 5.46 yards per attempt last season, which was not only worst in the NFL last season, it was one of the worst all time.
In the history of the NFL, only three quarterbacks have thrown at least 500 passes in a season and averaged fewer than 5.50 yards per attempt: Carr, Joey Harrington and Chris Weinke. Harrington and Weinke both did so within the first two years of their careers, and neither lasted long in the NFL.
Carr's inability to hit the deep ball contributed to his low yards per attempt. Carr completed a league-worst 22.4 percent of his passes thrown at least 20 yards downfield last season, and it's not as though his receivers were to blame. The Raiders lacked big-name receivers in 2013 as well, but the team ranked 12th overall completing deep passes (38.1 percent).
He then moves on to his future projections based on previous examples. He uses those past examples to come to the conclusion that "it's unlikely he'll improve to the level of an above-average NFL starter."
sose career QBR is 9.8 points better than his first 16 starts (28.9).
A QBR of 50.0 is considered average, so Carr would need an improvement of nearly 12 points over his career to reach that mark. Only Matthew Stafford, who has improved by 13.4 points from his first 16 starts, has reached those levels. Stafford also had the talent level to be drafted No. 1 overall in 2009, and dealt with injuries early in his career.
He then compares the two quarterbacks' college QBR as a means of showing Mariota has greater potential to be a successful pro than Carr has shown or will show.
Mariota carries the potential of a franchise quarterback, something Carr has yet to display at either level. In college Carr logged three full seasons as Fresno State's quarterback and never posted a QBR season higher than 77.0. By comparison, Mariota's worst QBR in three seasons as Oregon's starter was 86.2.
Their performances at the collegiate level could be indicative of their ceilings in the professional ranks. There were 83 college quarterbacks from 2004-14 who logged three or more seasons of sub-80 QBRs. That group saw seven NFL starters last season: Carr, Nick Foles, Geno Smith, Austin Davis, Christian Ponder, Jake Locker and Chad Henne. As of now, Foles and Carr appear to be the only two of that group with a starting job in 2015. Quarterbacks with at least one season of QBR at or above 80 in the past 10 collegiate seasons include Luck, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, Alex Smith, Teddy Bridgewater, Andy Dalton, Robert Griffin III and Sam Bradford.
If you have an ESPN Insider subscription, you can read the entire article here.
It's at very least a chin stroker. Especially considering it yielded extremely similar results to that of the previous study put out by numberFire.com.
Though I don't see any way the Raiders give up on Carr this quickly and it would probably be ill advised to do so.
It will be worth it to revisit these studies next offseason regardless of Carr's performance next season.