Underrated: Derek Carr
He was No. 2 in the NFL against the blitz last year. If his last name was anything different, he would have been the No. 1 pick in that draft. But since his last name is Carr, he ends up slipping to the second round. Everyone else’s loss is the Raiders’ gain. [General manager] Reggie McKenzie wasn’t going to let a gem like Carr slip by in the draft. It was a smart decision, so kudos to the Raiders for doing it. If you watch Carr on film and never thought about what his brother did before him, you would have come to the conclusion that he was the best quarterback in that draft. Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater? Come on. He was clearly the best quarterback in that draft. But Derek hasn’t let that define him, all the naysayers, he hasn’t let that deter him at all. That is the type of adversity that quarterbacks have to overcome. He was overcoming adversity before he even set foot in the league.
Overrated: Michael Crabtree
He had underperformed in San Francisco. They got a bargain on him in Oakland, and he produced last year. But he is a guy that can’t get out of his own way. It’s hard for him to stay engaged and focused and do what he needs to do to be at his best year in and year out. Michael is a solid player, and he is someone you can win with. But he is by no means a great player. And when you are drafted that high overall [No. 10 in 2009], that reputation seems to have stuck with him.
The Raiders have a deep roster. Their front office has worked in concert with their coaching staff. This may be the first time in the Raiders’ history that the full coaching staff came back intact from the previous year. When you talk about continuity, that is not a word that is ever associated with the Raiders. Continuity counts, and having this staff back intact means that these players get the same message for another year. And the pieces that they have added to this roster, they have good football players. They did a lot to clean up the roster and got rid of some of the overpaid players, and now they are an example of a program that is on the uptick. [Owner] Mark Davis has had the patience to let this vision play out. There is no reason that this team can’t be in there in contention at the end of the year. Their future should be bright for some years to come.