When Derek Carr entered the NFL in 2014, he was lumped into the second tier of quarterbacks available in that year’s draft.
Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater all were first-round picks that year before the Raiders selected Carr with the fourth pick of the second round, the 36th overall selection.
While Bortles and Bridgewater have fared well, Manziel has been a bust. Now, as teams prepare for the 2016 season, a number of NFL teams probably wish they hadn’t passed on Carr – including the Texans, who passed on him twice and had to pay a fortune this offseason for former Broncos QB Brock Osweiler to fill their void at the position.
After a solid rookie season in 2014, Carr had a breakthrough year in 2015, completing 61 percent of his passes for 3,987 yards, 32 touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 91.1, far above his rookie mark of 76.6.
“I can’t say enough good things about Derek,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said after Oakland’s 7-9 season in 2015. “He’s got all the intangibles to go along with his talent level.”
And it’s not just the Raiders who believe in their young quarterback.
On Wednesday, for the first time, Carr was selected by NFL players as one of the league’s top 100 players. Carr came in at No. 100 on the annual Top 100 Players poll revealed by the NFL Network.
Carr was excited to learn about his selection and tweeted his thanks to his peers: “Thank you to everyone that voted 4 me! It means a lot to me coming from teammates and opp players. Now that we have made it time to climb it.”
During the 2015 season, Raiders teammates raved about Carr’s work ethic, leadership and performance, and opponents obviously saw the same things.
“He’s one of my favorite quarterbacks,” said Denver Broncos Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. “I love everything about him.”
Said Raiders left tackle Donald Penn: “I love watching him succeed. I love watching him fail, because he even works that much harder.” Added tight end Mychal Rivera: “He’s always coming in the clutch. Whenever we need him, he’s always there.”