Warszawski: After Derek Carr's draft slip, Raiders offer good landing spot

The Fresno BeeMay 9, 2014 

Derek Carr greets the media after the Oakland Raiders drafted the former Fresno State star quarterback No. 36 overall in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday, May 9, 2014.

NICK ELLIS — Special for The Bakersfield Californian

Getting picked No. 36 overall the NFL draft does not qualify as "adversity."

Sorry, it just doesn't.

Derek Carr has overcome adversity in his young life -- never more so than when his son underwent multiple surgeries last fall after being born with twisted intestines -- but being bypassed in the first round won't add to it.

Sure there's probably disappointment, and a little anger. Carr spent the months leading up to the draft telling everyone, and probably convincing himself, that he would be a first-round pick.

That didn't happen. Instead, Carr had to wait until Friday afternoon until the Oakland Raiders grabbed him in the second round.

Carr, of course, doesn't show us that side. He keeps his chin up and jaw tight. But you know it's burning him. A little extra motivation to start an NFL career is never a bad thing. Just don't call it adversity.

Aside from the more than $1 million in signing bonus, being a second-round pick won't cost Carr a thing. The Raiders still have enough invested to ensure he'll be given time to develop.

Oakland is a good landing spot for Carr, despite the team's recent history. The Raiders have a starting quarterback for next season in Matt Schaub, whom they're paying $8 million in guaranteed money.

That means Carr will get at least one year to be an understudy, acclimate himself and compete with Matt McGloin for backup practice snaps. Carr will be under no pressure to perform right away, which is the worst thing that can happen to a rookie quarterback who doesn't enter a winning situation.

And the Raiders are a ways from that. Although the selections of Carr and defensive end Khalil Mack, the dynamic pass rusher who fell into their laps at No. 5, may signal a parting of the clouds.

The Raiders never hid their fondness for Carr. General manager Reggie McKenzie, coach Dennis Allen and offensive coordinator Greg Olson all turned out for Fresno State's pro day and left with smiles on their faces.

There was no question the Raiders liked him. ("I knew how they felt about me," Carr said. "They were very open with that.") They just didn't like him enough to take with their first-round pick. But once the Fresno State record-setter slid into the second round, Oakland resisted offers to trade down and grabbed the quarterback they had rated No. 2 on their board behind Blake Bortles.

Carr already drives a black Porsche. Now he'll have a uniform jersey to match.

Not that he needed any, but Carr picked up endorsements earlier Friday from ex-quarterbacks Kurt Warner, Rich Gannon and Joe Montana.

Warner and Gannon each praised Carr as the best pure thrower in the draft, while Montana gushed about him to San Francisco radio station KNBR.

"I think he'll be a surprise," Montana said. "He does all the right things. He's mobile, yet he's a pocket guy. He throws the ball with touch. He has a strong enough arm to make all the throws. I don't know, just by appeal in looking at a quarterback, he has all the stuff you like to see."

Carr has to be thrilled to be staying close to home, just as his selection surely thrilled thousands of Raiders fans throughout the Valley. Many are Fresno State fans, too.

Chargers fans living here surely had a different reaction, and those 49ers fans who cheered for Carr during his three seasons as a Bulldog are probably feeling a little conflicted.

The pick also poses a conundrum for Fresno-area sports bars that for years have refused to televise Raiders games due to unruly fan behavior. Bar owners who maintain that blackout policy are going to cost themselves a lot of green.

There are no guarantees in any NFL draft, but it does serve as a certain truth serum. And in the end, Carr was the fourth quarterback selected -- just as the national media predicted.

Carr spent a lot of energy these past few months battling that perception, telling anyone who would listen that the national media's view of him was different from the NFL teams' views.

In the end, they were exactly the same.

Carr believed he was the best quarterback in the draft. The NFL respectfully disagreed. That reality has to sting a little and provide extra motivation going forward. Just don't confuse either of those things with adversity.

The columnist can be reached at (559) 441-6218, marekw@fresnobee.com or @MarekTheBee on Twitter.

The Fresno Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service