When Jack Del Rio was hired as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, one of the first things he said was that he wanted to make sure that Derek Carr did not have to carry the team in 2015. He saw how much was put on the quarterback’s shoulders in his rookie season and did not want to follow the same strategy in Carr’s sophomore year. But when the only upgrade to the receiver group in free agency came in the form of Michael Crabtree, many questioned just how Del Rio and crew were going to take the weight off Carr’s shoulders.
Their plan revealed itself during the draft when the Raiders spent two of their top three picks on weapons for Carr. Amari Cooper is the best pass-catcher in the 2015 draft class and Clive Walford is seen by most as the second-best tight end in the class. Both guys will start on day one and will represent a huge upgrade to the passing offense. They could easily be Carr’s two favorite targets and easily the best two receiving options on the team.
And with those two in mind, you can go back and look at the free agent class and feel good about how it helps Carr as well. With a number one receiver added in the draft, the Raiders look pretty good having gotten Crabtree and Roy Helu, Jr. as additional targets. Crabtree is a possession guy to play opposite Cooper, while Helu is a pass catching running back who will offer Carr a solid check-down option.
The Raiders also had a big upgrade on their offensive line with the addition of Rodney Hudson. With Stefen Wisniewski, Carr was often faced with pressure coming up the gut and pushing the pocket backwards. Hudson was brought to Oakland in part so that he could help keep the pocket intact for Carr.
That makes five guys the Raiders added specifically to help take pressure off Carr. After searching for over a decade, the Raiders have a player who could potentially be a franchise quarterback and they have made the smart decision to give him everything he needs to reach that potential.
That’s not a bad game plan at all.