The Raiders are a remarkable 1-for-40 when drafting quarterbacks. After all these years, Ken Stabler is the only signal caller of the bunch that went on to become a successful starter. If one wants to be generous you could add Steve Beuerlein, who had a respectable career … mostly elsewhere, as he spent his first two seasons in Los Angeles and enjoyed his best seasons a decade later in Carolina.
Part of that is poor scouting, along with the fact that a lot of guys who did well in college are unable to successfully make the jump to the NFL. But a large part of it has to do with development of the young quarterbacks, a responsibility that falls squarely on the shoulders of the Raiders’ coaches. Over the years, the Raiders have seen more success managing older veteran quarterbacks than when they’ve tried to develop young ones.
When Reggie McKenzie drafted Derek Carr with the Raiders’ second round pick, he did so in hopes that the rocket-armed quarterback from Fresno State would be the guy to buck this depressing trend. And while McKenzie has not had much success in picking quarterbacks to start for Oakland so far, he and head coach Dennis Allen have done a good job of getting guys who know how to coach up a quarterback. This much is evident from last season where the Raiders actually saw a little success with arguably the worst quarterback duo in the league.
Offensive coordinator Greg Olson, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo and offensive assistant Al Saunders are all considered to be very good with quarterbacks. The three worked with both Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin, getting more out of both raw, inexperienced players than almost anyone expected they could. The hope is that these guys will be able to not only help Matt Schaub return to Pro Bowl form, but also mold Carr into a suitable replacement.
Carr can consider himself among the rare few who will be given a chance to sit behind a veteran quarterback and learn rather than getting thrusted into a starting role far too early. But sitting is only valuable if the player is actually learning and improving. Carr has always shown that there is no concern about his work ethic or desire to get better. The only question is whether the Raiders can help him be great.