Setting the Stage
Derek Carr is the youngest of three brothers and was born in Fresno, California. His family relocated to Sugar Land, Texas when his older brother David was drafted 1st overall by the Houston Texans in 2002. They moved back to Bakersfield, California for his senior year in high school. Derek Carr played quarterback at Clements High in Texas, starting the second half of his sophomore season and all of his junior year when he led his team to an undefeated regular season. He was heavily recruited during as a junior and accepted a scholarship to Fresno State. He led his school in Bakersfield to a 12-1 as a senior.
Carr enrolled at Fresno State in January 2009 so that he could participate in spring practices. He competed to be the starting quarterback as a true freshman, but lost out to junior Colburn. He played sparingly that year and then redshirted the next year. He took over as a sophomore starter in 2011 and started 13 games for each of the next three years. His production improved each season and he passed for 5,083 yards and 50 touchdowns as a senior winning the Sammy Baugh Trophy and the nation’s top collegiate passer. All told, he threw for 12,843 yards, completing 68.9% of his passes for 113 touchdowns for the Bulldogs.
Carr was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the 2nd round and 36th overall as the fourth quarterback following Blake Bortles (3), Johnny Manziel (22) and Teddy Bridgewater (32). He played well enough in the pre-season to be named the starting quarterback over Matt Schaub. Carr became the first Oakland Raider rookie quarterback to start the season opener and also was the only 2014 rookie quarterback to do so.
He has started every game of his NFL career. The first year definitely had some hiccups, but there were a lot of changes for a rookie quarterback. Head Coach Dennis Allen was fired after the fourth game with the team at 0-4. Tony Sparano then took over and although he coached the rest of the season, it was pretty obvious that more change was on the horizon. Greg Olson also remained the offensive coordinator all year. Carr played adequately as a rookie, but only completed 58.1% of his attempts with a low 5.46 ypa.
After the season, there were more changes. Jack Del Rio was hired as head coach and he named Bill Musgrave as the offensive coordinator. Carr greatly improved his second season. His completion percentage climbed to 61.1%, but the most improvement was seen in his 1.5 yard increase in his yards per attempt. It climbed to a respectable 6.96. He actually threw for over 700 more yards while throwing 26 fewer passes. In addition, he tied for 7th in passing touchdowns with 32, only four less than the NFL leader in 2015.