The Myth of the Second Round Quarterback

The 2022 NFL Draft is behind us, and it reveals a modern scouting trend at the league’s most important position.

The NFL draft has come and gone, and there were plenty of surprises, notably at the quarterback position. Among them, not a single quarterback was picked in the second round.

After Kenny Pickett was drafted by the Steelers at 20, the next QB didn’t go until 54 picks later, even though there were several who analysts believed were capable of going in round two.

There’s just one small problem: second round quarterbacks don’t exist.

I know it sounds like an odd — or maybe blatantly false — statement, but there is a case to be made. The success rate on round two signal-callers is pretty horrendous, and it all seems to lead to this one conclusion.

In order to come to that conclusion, however, there are a variety of different criteria. First, the types of quarterbacks and draftable skills. Second, the structure, and third, the history of these picks. Those three, when looked at together, bring a pretty shocking revelation that made me conjure up that statement above.

Drafting a Quarterback

Teams who find themselves drafting quarterbacks highly may be in a variety of spots, but there are three that are the most typical:

  1. One of the league’s worst teams, holding a high draft pick.
  2. Middling franchise, looking to make a change.
  3. Top of the league, finding the protégé for an older (on the verge of retirement) leader.

When teams find themselves in any of these positions, they must find the traits they value in a quarterback. Among those are arm talent, rushing ability, composure, ability to read the field, and more. However, there are two categories that those fall into, which, for the sake of the argument are production and potential.

To put it simply, teams judge what a quarterback is right now versus what he could be in a few years.

Scenario one

The top guys usually have a combination of both. Trevor Lawrence, who went number one to the Jaguars last year, combined national championships and Heisman ballot appearances with a 6’6″ frame and a cannon of an arm. Thus, he went to a team that I would place in the first set of criteria. The Jaguars were easily one of the worst teams in the NFL, and thus received a generational talent.

Scenario Two

Those with one of the two traits, however, have a wide range of options. For a team that’s just good enough to be picking outside of the quarterback window, they might be willing to take a chance on a potentially huge swing in their franchises history. Kenny Pickett is a prime example of this. While he doesn’t have the strongest arm or the highest ceiling, his production last season was hard to ignore. The Pittsburgh Steelers, who were 9-7-1 last year, decided that he was worth it at 20.

Kenny Pickett goes 20th overall.

Following that pick, there were other quarterbacks on the board, who, like Pickett, possessed one of the two main traits. Malik Willis, who some suspected may go as high as number two overall, had one of the highest ceilings in the draft, however, if he wasn’t going to go in the first, it seemed he wasn’t getting drafted until later on day 2.

scenario threE

Teams that fall in the third category (such as the Packers in 2020) have a tough decision. While they could take their chances on a high-potential pick like Jordan Love, it makes the most sense to maximize their championship window. Green Bay took that chance in 2020, and passed up elite talent because of it. Now, teams have learned from that mistake, while quarterbacks brunt the blow to their draft position.

Thus, Malik Willis, Matt Corral, Desmond Ridder, and all of the quarterbacks who many expected to go in round one, are now available in the dreaded first half of day two.

The Structure of the Second Round

On the typical draft boards, teams have a wide range of grades on prospects. It’s common to see someone who’s viewed as a top prospect by one team be a day two pick for someone else. Due to this disparity, many “first round talents” fall into the beginning of day two.

These players are quickly scooped up in what makes up roughly 25 percent of the round. This leaves the last 24 picks for guys truly viewed as round two prospects, which doesn’t leave much room for quarterbacks.

If a team would have believed in someone enough to draft them with those first eight picks, it’s unlikely he would have slipped to begin with. Teams rarely risk the opportunity of missing out their guy. This is why it’s common to see teams move up to 32. They guarantee themselves the player they want with an extra year of team control.

Lamar Jackson was drafted 32 overall.

If a team wasn’t willing to take that chance, it’s unlikely they viewed them very highly. That idea is exactly what makes the second round the worst for the quarterback. Would a team take a player who, at the most important position in the sport, they aren’t fully invested in or comfortable with — especially when there is still high-end talent on the board?

The last 24

Once you find your way out of those first eight picks, it becomes time for teams to ask themselves that question. As this draft has shown, the answer has been a resounding “no.” The later picks, which are usually the teams competing for playoff spots, would rather choose someone who can contribute right away. Bubble teams are always looking for their next big acquisition, and their philosophy is that is can come then.

Quarterbacks, as a result, usually fall by the wayside. However, there are some instances where they are picked. The results of which are rather interesting.

Modern History of the Second Round Quarterback

Over the last 20 years, there have been 20 quarterbacks selected in the second round. 20 different times, teams have weighed the ideas of production and potential, and in the last two decades, have determined it’s time to take a quarterback who likely only had one of those traits.

A list of second round quarterback selections of the last 20 years.

Of those, the results are typically a failure of epic proportions. Kellen Clemens, Deshone Kizer, Drew Stanton, Chad Henne, Brian Brohm, John Beck, Jimmy Clausen, and Geno Smith all have more career interceptions than touchdowns, while Christian Hackenberg and Kyle Trask (who’s only in his second season) never played a recorded snap.

The other options aren’t great either. Tavaris Jackson, Brock Osweiler, and Kevin Kolb all showed some flashes, but never lived up to their selection.

Five of the remaining six are polarizing. Jalen Hurts has shown flashes, but fell apart in the playoffs. Drew Lock is still young, but was just traded by the Broncos and has been shaky. Jimmy Garoppolo was able to succeed in the Kyle Shanahan offense, but was just replaced and hasn’t shown an ability to transcend the system. Andy Dalton is a similar story, having rough stints in limited playoff appearances. Lastly, Colin Kaepernick led the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance, but has been out of the league for the better half of the last decade.

This leaves Derek Carr, who, while having only one playoff appearance and zero playoff wins, has safely cemented a spot as the Raiders quarterback for eight years. He has made three Pro Bowls, and has continued to improve. Thus making him the only second round quarterback selected in the last 20 years who can safely be called a hit.

The Bottom Line on the Second Round Quarterback

The 2022 NFL Draft was a prime example of a philosophy at work. After a quarterback goes in the first round, teams have learned from mistakes of the past. Rather than picking signal callers with clear holes in their game in the following round, they’ve gone for contributors at other positions.

Several teams would love to have the next Derek Carr, but with that comes the chance of Brian Brohm or Deshone Kizer. Just like every other selection, the second round has it’s fair share of bust potential. However, it seems that the combination of quarterback traits, draft tendencies, and a simple history lesson will tell you that it simply isn’t the same.

General managers across the league will continue to take swings on quarterbacks, but when doing so, it’s important to look at the most glaring fact:

Second round quarterbacks don’t exist.

Derek Carr receives multi-year extension

Las Vegas Raiders, QB, Derek Carr
Las Vegas Raiders, QB, Derek Carr (Photo by Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr became the fifth highest-paid quarterback in the NFL with a multi-year contract extension. The extension was rumored to be in the works since the hiring of head coach Josh McDaniels, but now it’s official. The contract ties Carr to the Raiders through the 2025 season.

The contract’s fine print

Like most NFL contracts, Carr’s new deal can be interpreted in many ways. At face value, it is a 3-year, $121.5 million signing. Because his current contract still has one year remaining, this ties him to the Raiders for four more seasons.

Carr’s contract averages out to around $40 million per season, but each year is extremely different. In 2022, Carr will earn a base salary of $17.3 million. That number nearly doubles in 2023 to $32 million. It is not until 2024 that he will receive $41 million a season per Sportrac.

Over the course of the next three seasons, Carr’s cap hit will sit at $19 million, $34 million, and $43 million respectively. Despite the impressive annual salary, this deal is extremely team-friendly. The Raiders franchise quarterback told the media after signing his deal that his goal was to ensure the team had money remaining to extend guys like Hunter Renfrow and Foster Moreau.

The contract includes a no-trade clause, meaning the Raiders are unable to deal Carr without his approval. His 2023 salary will become fully guaranteed just three days after the 2022 Super Bowl, putting Carr firmly in the driver’s seat. Extending Carr saves the Raiders around $500,000 in cap space this season, and finally eliminates any questions of what the new front office regime is thinking.

What does this extension mean to Carr?

Carr has long been committed to the Raiders, telling the media, “I’ve only wanted to be a Raider. I told my agent, I’m either gonna be a Raider or I’m gonna be playing golf, I don’t wanna play anywhere else. That’s how much this place means to me”.

The nine-year veteran will now have four more seasons in the Silver and Black to play for the Super Bowl ring he set out to win all those years ago. Now, he has a new contract, his best friend as his WR1, a new regime, and new hope to bring a championship to Sin City.

Raiders Pull Off Blockbuster trade for Davante Adams

New Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams
Photo Credit: Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Just as Raider Nation was getting over the excitement of the Chandler Jones signing, something bigger, and somehow even more surprising happened. Josh McDaniels, Dave Ziegler, and the Raiders traded for one of the best wide receivers in the league, Davante Adams.

Last week, Adams received a franchise tag from the Green Bay Packers, seemingly tying him to the organization through the 2022 season. This week, Adams informed Green Bay he would not play under the franchise tag. Since then, it was relatively quiet out of Wisconsin. There was a widespread belief that Adams and the Packers brass would reach a deal, and he would continue his Hall of Fame level career in the green and yellow, much to the dismay of Raiders fans everywhere.

On Thursday, McDaniels and Ziegler pulled off the seemingly impossible as they traded a total of two draft picks in return for Adams.

The terms of the trade

Davante Adams will head to the Raiders on a 5-year, $141 million deal. This contract makes him by far the highest-paid wide receiver in NFL history. He is tied to the Silver and Black through the 2026 season.

In exchange for Adams, the Raiders sent over their 2022 first-round draft pick and their 2022 second-round draft pick. All things considered, this trade was a massive steal for owner Mark Davis and his new staff.

The full contract is still yet to be released but check back once the terms are announced for a full breakdown.

Adams’ career thus far

Davante Adams was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2014, where he has spent the first eight seasons of his career. He has achieved a 1000 yard-season three times, falling short of the 1000-yard mark by just three yards on two separate occasions, per Pro Football Reference. In 2021, Adams had a monstrous 1553 yards on 123 receptions, resulting in 11 touchdowns.

The superstar wide receiver has received a Pro-Bowl nod 5 times, with two All-Pro selections. This past season, he received a 92.7 overall grade, allowing for a 117.4 passer rating when targeted, per PFF.

Adams is widely regarded as one of the most talented receivers in the league year after year.

Derek Carr and Davante Adams go way back

Raiders QB Derek Carr has an extensive relationship with his new WR1. The two played together at Fresno State University before heading to the NFL. Since then, it has always been a far-fetched dream for the two to reunite, but now it’s a reality.

Carr was quick to welcome Adams to Raider Nation with a Facetime call where his excitement was palpable.

“Welcome Home” Carr tweeted to Adams after the trade was announced.

It has been reported that the Green Bay Packers were willing to pay Adams the same amount of money — or more — the Raiders were offering. Adams chose to pack up and start anew in Las Vegas to have the chance to play with his college QB once again.

McDaniels and Ziegler have stolen the hearts of Raiders fans this week. Look for that to continue down the stretch as they push to bring home Sin City’s first Super Bowl title.

Derek Carr Extension? What the Raiders New Regime Will Offer

The Las Vegas Raiders have a new regime and it seems that a Derek Carr extension is on the horizon sooner rather than later.

Derek Carr Extension?

Las Vegas Raiders, QB, Derek Carr (Photo via Las Vegas Review Journal)
Derek Carr Extension? (Photo via Las Vegas Review Journal)

The Las Vegas Raiders are prepared for a Derek Carr Extension.

The Super Bowl is today, but the Las Vegas Raiders are in the news before the final game of the 2021 season. While the new head coach, Josh McDaniels, rounds out – the new regime is allegedly prepared to commit to a Derek Carr extension.

After many years of uncertainty, the eight-year veteran may finally be getting the commitment he has been looking for.

Jon Gruden was never fully committed to Derek Carr.

It didn’t matter who you were to former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden; if he wanted a player gone, he ensured it would happen. The same could be said of Gruden and acquiring players such as Antonio Brown, Richie Incognito, Jordy Nelson, and Marshawn Lynch. The fact of the matter is, Jon wasn’t committed to any specific player after seeing the trades of both former All-Pro’s Khalil Mack and Rodney Hudson. As a result, every sub .500 season combined with offensive hiccups led to Derek Carr being the subject of Gruden’s next impulsive trade. His reign of mediocrity and underwhelming roster-building is over, and Josh McDaniels is already showing he understands the importance of going all-in on a signal-caller.

Josh McDaniels thrives on QB continuity, not chaos.

Josh McDaniels coached the future Hall of Famer Tom Brady for 17 years as both an offensive assistant and coordinator. In addition, he played a vital role in the success of Pro Bowl rookie Mac Jones this season.

Safe to say, Josh knows how important it is to scheme to the strengths of a signal-caller. As a result, there will be no time wasted implementing a playbook that maximizes Carr and other offensive players’ strengths. The only question is, how much will a Derek Carr extension go for?

A Derek Carr extension may not be earth shattering.

Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen command an annual average value of over $40 million; it is safe to say that Derek Carr is not in that stratosphere. He will not be the highest-paid player at the position for a quarterback that led the NFL in turnovers in 2021. Carr will be more apt to fit in the range of $25-30 million AAV for four years with Carson Wentz, Kirk Cousins, Matt Ryan, and Ryan Tannehill. But, again, this is a player that the new regime has yet to witness firsthand. They will more than likely err on the side of caution just in case. It remains to be seen if he can lead the Silver and Black to a Super Bowl victory. One could argue that Derek doesn’t deserve an extension, but the precedent is essential for the organization.

A Raiders Super Bowl Can Happen With 3 Major Changes

Las Vegas made the playoffs in 2021, but these three things could help propel a Raiders Super Bowl run for the first time since 2002.

Can Derek Carr will a Raiders Super Bowl? (Photo via Getty Images)

The Las Vegas Raiders took a massive step in the right direction in 2021. They improved their bottom-tier defense and finally made the playoffs for the first time since 2016. While this was exciting, we all know that winning a Super Bowl title is the true goal. So with a new coaching staff and a locker room full of dedicated players, let’s take a look at three changes the Raiders need to make to find themselves in the Super Bowl.

The offensive line must improve.

Before 2021, the Raiders had a monstrous offensive line. Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson, Trent Brown, Kolton Miller, and Richie Incognito were all among the best at their position, but 3 of the 5 are making waves on other teams. Former head coach and general manager Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock had faith in their new line. They hoped the likes of Alex Leatherwood and Andre James could fill their big shoes. While it may have seemed promising at the time, the result was far from ideal.

The Silver and Black’s offensive line finished the season ranked 28th out of 32 per Pro Football Focus. Luckily, their hard work began to pay off near the end of the season, and their improvement from Week 1 to the Wild Card Round became undeniable. However, as the team navigates a new offensive line coach and a fresh head coach, it will be crucial to continue to trend upwards.

Keep an eye out to see if the new regime signs any free agent offensive linemen or if they choose to go the route of drafting one. Either way, the first step to getting to the championship game is improving the production of Derek Carr’s front five.

The Raiders’ efficiency in the red-zone must improve on both sides of the football.

All season long, both offense and defense struggled in the red zone. Once the Silver and Black got within the twenty-yard line on either side of the ball, the game plan seemed to sputter and stop.

The Raiders’ defense ranked last in red-zone efficiency through 2021. They allowed a touchdown on 77.08% of opponents’ red zone drives, per teamrankings.com. For comparison, the number one ranked red zone defense, the New Orleans Saints, allowed a touchdown just 43.48 percent of the time.

It’s impossible to argue that the defense didn’t see a massive improvement in 2021. But, if they want to continue to make strides towards the Super Bowl, it starts with not giving up so many points in the red zone. 

Offensively, they ranked 29th in red-zone efficiency, finding the end zone 49.23% of the time. Thankfully, they have an extremely reliable kicker in Daniel Carlson, allowing them to put points on the board much more often than that.

Without Carlson, it’s hard to say how many games the team may have lost due to their inability to score touchdowns as often as necessary.

Thanks to new head coach Josh McDaniels, it’s safe to be cautiously optimistic that the offenses’ scoring ability will improve. In 2021, McDaniels guided his former team, the New England Patriots offense, to a touchdown in the red zone 63.08% of the time, a vast improvement from the Raiders’ less than 50%. An improvement in red zone efficiency on both sides of the ball may put more games in the win column in 2022 and beyond.

A Raiders Super Bowl means no more midseason collapses.

The Raiders have found themselves in a mid-season drought for three consecutive seasons. In 2021, after starting 5-2 before the bye week, Las Vegas lost 5 of 6 games, dropping to 6-7. All three of the previous seasons have been nearly identical. After starting the season strong, the offensive and defensive efficiency declined, and they found themselves far out of playoff contention.

2021 was the outlier. The Silver and Black were able to rally and win their last four games to propel themselves into the playoffs. Without their midseason struggles, the road to the playoffs may have been much smoother. McDaniels and his new team must ensure that the infamous mid-season collapses become a distant memory rather than a constant reality.

The road to a Raiders Super Bowl (or any other teams) isn’t easy. It takes everyone from the front office to the practice squad, and these three things are not the only obstacles Las Vegas has to overcome, but they’re a good start. If Head Coach Josh McDaniels can lead the Silver and Black past these obstacles, a Super Bowl berth may be closer than previously thought.