Derek Carr is well aware of the quarterbacks who went ahead of him in the draft, even if he tries to downplay the meaning of matching up against them.
Carr and the Raiders will get their first look Sunday at the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Blake Bortles, the first quarterback who came off the board in that 2014 draft.
“You always are grouped in that little group,” Carr said, mentioning Bortles and the Minnesota Vikings’ Teddy Bridgewater, New England Patriots’ Jimmy Garoppolo and former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel – all fellow 2014 draft picks. All but Garoppolo were taken ahead of Carr, whom the Raiders selected in the second round at No. 36.
“When you think of your class, you always think of those guys,” Carr said. “But, as I’ve been playing through the years, you don’t really think about it because it’s so far removed. Right when it happens, you’re like, ‘Man, I can’t wait for that,’ but once you get past that, it doesn’t even matter. You’re just trying to win football games.”
While still early in their careers, Carr wins the tale of the tape just about across the board when compared to Bortles.
HEAD-TO HEAD COMPARISON
Neither has a great record, but Carr is trending in the right direction with a 14-14 record over his past 28 games. He’s also 7-4 on the road the past two years, while Bortles has just two career road wins as part of a 10-24 record.
Raiders running back Latavius Murray has played with both of them, as Murray was a teammate of Bortles at Central Florida. He didn’t want to dig too deeply into comparing two players with whom he’s very close.
“They’re both good quarterbacks,” Murray said. “Obviously this weekend I wish D.C. nothing but the best of success. After that, Blake can do whatever he does.”
Greg Olson knows Carr and Bortles probably better than anybody. He was Carr’s offensive coordinator his rookie season in 2014 and has been Bortles’ OC the past two years in Jacksonville.
“They’re both tremendous competitors,” Olson said in Jacksonville. “They’re their own two individuals but they’re young quarterbacks that were thrown in the league and had to play early as rookies. They both have gone through changes in coordinators, but they’re just tremendous competitors and they both prepare very well. They’re both very intelligent players.”
Carr had high praise for the work Olson did while in Oakland.
“He is up there when it comes to quarterback knowledge,” Carr said of Olson. “He’s really second to none. He knows what he’s doing. I tried to pick his brain and learn what I could with our time together. I owe him a lot of credit.”
The tie to Olson is only one reason Carr and Bortles have stayed close after spending time together during the 2014 draft process. They both visited Jacksonville together during the draft process and had dinner the night before meeting with the Jaguars.
“We’ll talk in the offseason and throughout the year, but he’s an unbelievable guy,” Bortles said on a conference call of Carr. “He’s a guy that I definitely check and see how he’s doing throughout the year after every game and rooting for, and look forward to seeing him Sunday.”
Compiled by Noel Harris