Remember when Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr expressed his desire to spoil the team’s draft next spring?
“I just want to win. I want to mess up the draft. I don’t want the first pick,” said Derek Carr. following the team’s win over the Cardinals in week 11. “I want to win all these games, so I want want everybody to be mad at me for that. That’s what I want to accomplish.”
Well, he hasn’t won all his games since then but he has spoiled his team’s draft position for the moment. The San Francisco 49ers came into Week 14 tied with the Raiders at 2-10 but have the tie-breaker due to strength of schedule. So when they beat the Denver Broncos 20-14, the Raiders had a chance to move into position for the No. 1 pick with a loss but they didn’t take that chance.
Carr had other plans as he engineered the 16th game-winning drive of his career. He capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Derek Carrier. So the Raiders are now in a tie with the 49ers and Arizona Cardinals, who lost Sunday. And since the Raiders beat the Cardinals this season, they are in position to draft No. 3 overall as of now.
On the day, Carr went 25-34 for 322 yards, two TD’s and no interceptions. Speaking of INTs, he hasn’t thrown one of those in his last eight games with 255 attempts.
After a rough beginning to the season, Carr is starting to master his fourth offense in five years and right the offensive ship. And he’s doing so behind a porous offensive line and no No. 1 receiver.
Many suspected Carr would be traded after this season but performances like this make him look like something to build around. Head coach Jon Gruden is starting to sound like he agrees.
“Derek sees the field and I have been saying that from the beginning,” said Gruden after the game. “If we can protect him and give him some good looks, he will make the throws.”
The 2019 NFL Draft looks good on defensive with a suspect QB class so having your QB now helps a lot. It particularly helps a Raiders team that needs to improve on defense. If Carr continues to build on what he’s doing now, (1793 yards, 11 TDs 0 INTs and 102 passer rating over the last eight games), the Raiders rebuild could be a short one.