As we all know, the quarterback position is one of the most important on the team. This position is the leader of the team, and almost always the most well-known player for the squad. For the Raiders, this man is Derek Carr.
Carr is currently the longest tenured player on the Raiders’ roster, and he has been the face of the franchise for quite some time now. Lets find out how he compares to his fellow quarterbacks in this division.
4. Drew Lock
It’s worth mentioning that the starting job in Denver is up for grabs, between Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater. Reports out of Denver recently have made it sound like Lock is winning that battle, so for this article we will assume that Lock is the starter.
With all due respect to Lock, this was a fairly easy decision. Lock is at the very beginning of his career, and he’s shown both signs of promise and inconsistency. He had an excellent year in 2019, in which he started during the tail-end of the season. In 2020, his production fell. He only threw one more touchdown than interception, and just had a bad year overall.
Lock is very young, and at the age of 24 he barely has a full season under his belt. For the Broncos to reach their full potential, they’ll need Lock to find the rhythm he had during his five-game stint in 2019. This year could very well make or break his career, so he’s definitely a player to keep an eye on in 2021.
3. Justin Herbert
Deciding between Justin Herbert and Derek Carr is an extremely tough decision. Herbert had an excellent rookie campaign, starting the whole season after taking over in Week 2. In 15 games last year, Herbert posted an astounding 4,336 yards (2nd most-ever by a rookie), to go along with 31 touchdowns (most ever by a rookie), 10 interceptions and a 66.6% completion percentage. Those are outstanding numbers.
One of Herberts greatest strengths is his ability to make big-time throws without risking turning the ball over. PFF graded Herbert with the 22nd highest turnover play rate last year at 2.3%, which judges how many of his throws should have resulted in turnovers. Herbert was ranked better than Patrick Mahomes, (3.2%), Josh Allen (3.4%), and Drew Brees (3.4%). Those are some of the best quarterbacks in the league, and Herbert was able to throw for over 4,300 yards while taking care of the football. That is extremely impressive, especially for a rookie.
As I mentioned earlier, Herbert made throws when it counted as well. Herbert finished 9th among ranked quarterbacks in big time throws. PFF counts big time throws as passes that are either deep down the field, into tight windows between defenders, or sometimes both. Herbert had 31 of these throws, ranking higher than Ben Rothlesberger (26), Ryan Tannehill (19) and Drew Brees (15).
Justin Herbert won the 2020 AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award for his outstanding season.
2. Derek Carr
As I mentioned earlier, deciding between Herbert and Carr was a tough choice to make. Ultimately, Carr got the nod thanks to his experience and pedigree in the league.
Carr has been a polarizing figure on the Raiders for quite some time now. He’s been able to take care of the ball, and has led a productive, yet safe Raiders offense over the past few years. That’s drawn plenty of criticism from Raider Nation, citing the fact that at times he might play too safe, and refrains from taking necessary risks.
Carr has been, at-worst, a good quarterback for several years now. In 2020, Carr put up 4,103 yards, with 27 touchdowns, 9 interceptions and a 67.3% completion rate. Those numbers are about up to par with his previous years. He sneakily ranked 6th in yards per attempt (7.3 per attempt) and 15th in air yards per attempt (8 per attempt), demonstrating his efficiency and a more aggressive play style.
Carr was ranked the 9th best passer last year by PFF. Here’s an interesting stat: Carr had the 6th most big time throws of all graded quarterbacks according to PFF, with 37. This is interesting because many of Carr’s doubters have cited the fact that he chooses not to make big throws. Carr will continue to be one of the more polarizing players in football for years to come, but there’s no doubting his talent.
1. Patrick Mahomes
You probably could have guessed this after reading the title of the article. Not only is Mahomes the best quarterback in this division, he’s the best in all of football, and one of the best, if not the best player in the NFL.
In 2020, Mahomes threw for 4,750 yards. He likely would have thrown for 5,000, but he missed the last game of the year to rest for the playoffs. He threw 38 touchdowns compared to 6 interceptions, good for more than a 6:1 TD/INT ratio. Mahomes continues to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and remains atop the AFC West.
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