Derek Carr Makes Debut At Raiders Rookie Camp
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Sports Writer
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Derek Carr lined up under center for his first NFL drill and immediately dropped the snap.
It was not quite the welcome-to-the-NFL moment he or the Oakland Raiders were looking for on the first day of his rookie minicamp Friday. But it did nothing to discourage anyone either.
With his strong arm, natural leadership skills and familial ties, Carr looked the part of an NFL quarterback at his first minicamp. He showed why the Raiders were so excited to get him with the fourth pick of the second round of the NFL draft last week.
“I was excited to finally get back and play football instead of getting in your underwear and running a 40,” Carr said. “This is a lot more fun, being around the team.”
Carr was one of the most productive quarterbacks in college football last season. He threw for 5,083 yards and 50 touchdowns with only eight interceptions in a spread offense at Fresno State that included many quick screens and almost exclusively shotgun formations. He also won the 2013 Sammy Baugh Award, which goes to the nation’s top passer.
Carr is one of just 19 quarterbacks in FBS history to throw for more than 10,000 career yards and 100 touchdowns. His ratio of 113 touchdown passes to 24 interceptions is the second highest in FBS history for all quarterbacks with at least 100 career touchdown passes, trailing only Kellen Moore of Boise State.
“Derek Carr was the guy we thought very highly of going into the draft,” coach Dennis Allen said. “We did a lot of work on the quarterbacks this year and he was the guy we identified early that we felt good about. We liked him. We thought he was a first-round talent as a quarterback.”
But Carr enters the NFL as a backup. The Raiders traded a sixth-round pick to Houston in March for former Pro Bowler Matt Schaub and have anointed him the starter despite a rough 2013 season when he lost his with the Texans.
Schaub, who replaced Carr’s older brother David as quarterback in Houston in 2007, already reached out to Derek to offer any help in adjusting to the NFL.
“He just said he’s here to help me with whatever I needed. Basically, that was it,” Carr said. “He said, `Hey man, I know you have your brother who has played 13 years.’ He said, `Hey we’re teammates. I’m here for you every day. Whatever you need I’m here to help you.’ That meant a lot.”
After spending the past two seasons operating almost exclusively from the shotgun in Fresno State’s spread offense, Carr spent the offseason working with former New York Giants quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan on adapting his footwork to the pro-style offense.
He looked comfortable dropping back taking snaps from center despite two fumbled snaps.
“It’s kind of like riding a bicycle, you’ve got to get back on it and get a feel for it,” Allen said. “I’ve got no hesitation on that, his ability to execute the offense from under center.”
Carr and first-round linebacker Khalil Mack were the highest-profile players on the field for the rookie minicamp that included all eight draft picks, 11 undrafted free agents, two former practice-squad players and a handful of others here on a tryout basis.
Allen got a good early impression of Mack, who was taken fifth overall out of Buffalo last week and is being counted on as an impact pass rusher right from the start.
Mack said his focus is completely on the field and that is why he signed his four-year rookie contract immediately after reporting to camp Thursday.
“It’s hard to get a great feel for a player when you just see him on tape, but to get real up close and personal and see him live, you get a good feel for who he is,” Allen said. “He’s exactly what we thought he was going to be. He’s got a lot of work ahead of him. He’s got a lot of getting better to do, but he’s got a tremendous skill set and I would expect a pretty quick assimilation into the NFL.”
Updated May 16, 2014