ALAMEDA -– Derek Carr spent the last four months as a draft prospect. The young quarterback was thrilled to be a football player once again.
The No. 36 overall pick re-gained his preferred title Thursday when he checked in for Raiders rookie minicamp. Following his first professional practice on Friday afternoon, Carr’s demeanor showed one thing: a weight had been lifted.
No more draft analysis. No more uncertainty. No more slips into the second round. Just football from here on out.
“I’ll tell you what, I was excited to finally get back and play football instead of getting in your underwear and running a 40-yard dash,” Carr said. “This is a lot more fun, being around the team. I met all the veteran guys. From helping me with the plays from helping me where to live, they’ve been great. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation. I’m extremely happy right now.”
And for one snap anyway, maybe a little nervous. Carr fumbled his first snap from center. There’s nothing tangible to take from a rookie minicamp practice but, watching Carr live, the athleticism and arm strength is as advertised.
It was clear during practice and after that Carr was having fun.
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“Practice was kind of like a relief. Finally we’re just playing football,” he said. “I don’t have to hear on TV about my drop or my offense. I want to just get away and play football. That’s what I love to do. I want to play football, learn from my great coaches, try to help my teammates the most that I can and try to help the Raiders win as much as I can.”
The Raiders believe Carr can help them do so in time. Acquiring veteran Matt Schaub relieved the burden of immediate impact, of having to be a franchise savior in a season with jobs possibly on the line.
“We were extremely happy that we were able to get Derek,” head coach Dennis Allen said. “He’s very bright. He’s got a great skill set as a quarterback and we’re looking forward to working with him.”
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The Raiders are happy to have Carr, and the Fresno State grad is happy to be in Oakland. He’s sure to here more about strengths and weaknesses in the pros, but the draft has taught him to tune out white noise and stay focused on football.
“To be completely honest, none of that stuff affected me either way -- positive or negative,” Carr said. “You’re going to be praised a lot in this business. You’re going to be criticized a lot. I ignore both because neither matter. That’s how I look at it. I’m going to come out here and continue to work. I’m gonna listen to my coaches. Whatever they tell me to do that’s what I’m going to do.”