Raiders QB Derek Carr feels ready to go despite minimal preseason work


Raiders QB Derek Carr feels ready to go despite minimal preseason work

OAKLAND – Derek Carr planned to play into the second quarter on Friday night. That’s what the Raiders quarterback had heard, and that was his expectation after his first offensive series.

Head coach Jon Gruden had new new marching orders.

“He just came up to me after that drive and said, ‘I’ve seen enough. You’re good. You’re done,’” Carr said. “I didn’t know that was his plan, or even if it was his plan.”

Maybe it was the sack-fumble Carr took on his final play. More likely, it was simpler than that. Gruden knows Carr will be the unquestioned starter, and he has more pressing concerns evaluating his backups.

Either way, Carr played just seven snaps in a 13-6 victory over Green Bay. He only played six to open the preseason against Detroit and zero last week at the L.A. Rams.

It’s a virtual certainty Carr won’t play a single second in Seattle Thursday night.

“I have seen enough,” Gruden said. “There isn’t much more for me to see.”

Carr has been excellent in training camp. He and Gruden have bonded over a shared work ethic and love of offensive schematics. He has applied Gruden’s teachings well, executing the coaches vision precisely and with great consistency. A few extra preseason snaps won’t change that.

Carr connected on a deep shot to Amari Cooper. It wasn’t a perfect throw, but Cooper high-pointed the ball and gained 49 yards. He just missed Lee Smith on the next play. His best throw came on 3rd-and-7 – a tough situation he hoped to get – a dime to Jared Cook that set up first-and-goal. Carr floated a perfect ball to Cook, who faked a cut inside before breaking outside toward the sideline.

After two runs and that sack, Gruden pulled the plug.

“I wanted to get Connor (Cook) first team all offensive line for a couple series,” Gruden said. “But we have a pretty good idea who our starters are on offense. I was really pleased with Derek on how he started the game.”

Carr was also happy with his work in the short stint.

“It was good to get back out there, complete some passes and have a third down,” Carr said. “I really wanted a tough third down, and we got it. It was good.”

That initial series should conclude Carr’s preseason. If that’s the case, as expected, Carr’s ready to get going Sept. 10 against the Rams.

“It is different because I don't play as much (in this preseason), but we get so many things done in practice,” Carr said. “It's very tough, it's game-like and the kind of things I need to see and feel. Going out there today and being able to get hit a couple times, move in the pocket and find throws was nice.

“You don't need too much of that in the preseason, but just to get a few plays in here and there is good. If we practice at speed the way that we do, I feel that you can go out there in preseason and play a couple plays and be ready for the season."

Carr has found great sync with Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson, starting receivers who also exited after the first series. That provides confidence he doesn’t need any more work, and he’ll go into the regular season primed and ready to produce.

“We get a lot of practice reps, especially the way Coach Gruden designs his practices, it's all around the quarterback,” Carr said. “He's setting it up so I can be the most prepared in his mind, it's not my mind. I feel good about it and if the coach feels good about it, you can guarantee the players feel good about it.

"I feel in good rhythm, I feel in sync with those guys. I have guys that are easy to throw to, they're easy to talk to, so it makes it a lot easier."

NFL draft reset: What the Raiders might do with the No. 35 overall pick


NFL draft reset: What the Raiders might do with the No. 35 overall pick

Raiders general manager Mike Mayock made no secret of his desire to add selections during the NFL draft’s second day. They don’t have one beyond No. 35 overall after standing pat Thursday night and making three first-round selections as scheduled.

This early second-round pick is the last chance to add to the Day 2 total without giving up later or future picks, and there’s a real chance the Raiders move down to try and add selections in a deep portion of the NFL draft.

The Raiders are considering a trade at this stage, though nothing will be decided until Friday.

“We’ve already had a couple offers for that pick,” Mayock said after the opening round’s conclusion. “I had two offers for that pick before New England finished the draft. We pick third tomorrow. We turned down those offers because we think we’re going to have some more tomorrow. We can either sit there at 35 and take a player we love – we think one or two of them are going to be on the board – or we can move back down and pick up and extra pick. We love the 35th pick in this draft.”

The Raiders have quality available if they select there, or if they trade down a bit. The cornerback and receiver position groups are virtually intact, with several good interior offensive linemen left.

Quarterbacks drive the price up even in the second round, and a team going after Drew Lock might want an early crack at him before the Missouri signal caller goes off the board.

Let’s take a look at some options for the Raiders at No. 35, or a bit later in the second round:

-- TE Irv Smith, Alabama: The Raiders need a versatile tight end, and he’s the best option left. It might take the 35th pick to get him. Smith won’t last long.

-- DE Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech: A productive small-school edge rusher has some question marks, but could be a quality pickup for a Raiders team needing another defensive end.

-- OL Dalton Risner, Kansas State: This versatile offensive lineman could be an immediate answer at guard and a backup option at tackle. He wowed Raiders coaches at the Senior Bowl, and has a nasty streak they like.

-- QB Drew Lock, Missouri: The Raiders weren’t on the prowl for a quarterback in the first-round, but Lock might present value if he remains on the board long enough. He could also be a tool to help the Raiders acquire extra picks.

-- CB Rock Ya-Sin, Temple: A tough cover man with great ball skills remains available and would fit well with how the Raiders like to play in the secondary.

-- CB Justin Layne, Michigan State: The Raiders like this former Spartan, a big cornerback with a good understanding of how receivers run routes.

-- OG Connor McGovern, Penn State: The physical interior lineman visited the Raiders facility before the draft. He could be a candidate if they trade down.

-- CB Greedy Williams, LSU: He’s fast and offers sticky coverage, but lackluster tackler and inconsistent drive sent him down the draft board.

-- WR Parris Campbell, Ohio State: The Raiders have plenty at receiver already, but another speed demon couldn’t hurt.

-- OL Cody Ford, Oklahoma: This lineman was considered a first-round pick by some analysts but remains available. The Raiders could play him inside and add a physical presence in the run game with proper coaching.

How Raiders ended up picking Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 in 2019 NFL Draft

How Raiders ended up picking Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 in 2019 NFL Draft

ALAMEDA -- Raiders general manager Mike Mayock called Clelin Ferrell with some good news. The Clemson defensive end was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft on Thursday night, accepting all the expectations that come with it.

Fair or not, Ferrell’s performance will be judged by his draft slot and who all those draft analysts thought should’ve been taken before him. That list is long.

The Raiders draft board was the only list that mattered, and they made the decision to stay at No. 4 and take a player outsiders believe would’ve been available later.

“It all goes back to this: There were flashier players who people may have had higher on their boards,” Mayock said. “On our board it was him and Bosa right next to each other at that position.”

Mayock and head coach/football czar Jon Gruden had Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa high on their priority list, and explored a move up to get him but the 49ers snatched him without reservation at No. 2 overall.

That left Ferrell as the next best defensive end option available, and they were sure to get him at No. 4.

Trades were explored at that spot, but none fit the Raiders' liking. Getting any extra pick along with the guy you want is preferred, but there’s no guarantee Ferrell would’ve been around.

“You get phone calls, and you have to make some considerations,” Mayock said. “You make phone calls and do the same thing. At the end of the day, we didn’t think there was anything of enough value to cause us to change our plans.”

The plan was to nab an edge rusher early, and Ferrell was next up on their draft board that perfectly fit their defensive scheme and the locker room culture the Raiders are trying to create.

“We pretty much knew he would be there,” Mayock said. “Everybody else had all the big names up there, but Jon and I came in this morning and double checked everything, and he was our guy.

“…He checked all the boxes. He’s going to be a three-down player. He’s 267 pounds. He’s a captain. When you talk to the guys at Clemson, they say he was the cornerstone of that defense. Everything he does reminds me of what we want in the Raiders.”

The Raiders are looking for leadership and character from a draft class that will be feature players when the team relocates to Las Vegas in 2020. They want guys who star on the field and look good on billboards as they transition to a new market.

Ferrell impressed Mayock and Gruden at meetings, and convinced them he could handle the pressure and adversity associated with a draft pick many didn’t expect to go so high.

“We sat in the room with Ferrell at the combine, and I think he’s one of nine kids, from a military whose father passed away,” Mayock said. “This kid can do so much and all he had was this ball of positive energy. He was the energizer bunny for this national championship defense at Clemson. Everyone we talked to a Clemson said he was the guy.

"He had dealt with adversity. Playing in the national title game was nothing. Neither will coming out here. He has been through worse. He understands how to handle this, how to handle Las Vegas.”

[RELATED: Raiders taking Clelin Ferrell No. 4 surprised many]

There’s no doubt he’s a schematic fit at defensive end, with the size and versatility to play well in the system.

“It’s very important, especially with the offenses we play in this division,” Mayock said. “A guy like Ferrell can play either side of the line of scrimmage and kick inside. That was important for (defensive coordinator) Paul Guenther.”