What Would Derek Carr’s Career Look Like Without All The Dropped Passes?

The Raiders started a few disappointing new trends in 2017, but they also held on to one of their old familiar numbers blunders: dropped passes.

Raider pass-catchers dropped 38 passes in 2017, according to Pro Football Focus, which was good for the second-most (tied with Arizona) in the league. Only the Fightin’ Eli’s of right across the river from New York dropped more passes (45) last year.

Unfortunately, though, the dropped passes have been going on with the Raiders ever since Derek Carr showed up in Oakland. From 2014 to the present, no team has dropped more passes (147) in the NFL than the Raiders, according to Pro Football Focus.

So just for fun, what would Carr’s career look like if his receivers weren’t dropping passes at a record-breaking pace?

If the Raiders dropped passes at a rate closer to the league average of about 28, Carr’s quarterback rating would be among some of the best quarterbacks to ever play.

No, this isn’t be a ploy to give Carr more credit than he deserves or call him an all-time great, but it is interesting to see how significant dropped passes are to a quarterback’s rating.

If Carr’s receivers dropped just 10 less passes per season, this is how it would impact his career numbers.

His completion percentage would jump from 61.3% to 63.1% and at his career rate of throwing a touchdown every 13.3 pass attempts, his touchdown total would jump from 103 to 106. That alone would bump his quarterback rating from 87.5 to 90.28 – and that’s not taking into account how many “drops” ended up being interceptions (sorry, but looking at you for at least one, Latavius Murray).

A 90.28 career passer rating would put Carr behind only 13 quarterbacks in NFL history and the list is rather impressive: Aaron Rodgers (103.8), Russell Wilson (98.8), Tom Brady (97.6), Tony Romo (97.1), Steve Young (96.8), Drew Brees (96.7), Peyton Manning (96.5), Philip Rivers (94.8), Ben Roethlisberger (94.0), Kurt Warner (93.7), Kirk Cousins (93.7), Matt Ryan (93.4), and Joe Montana (92.3).

For what it’s worth, the quarterbacks under Montana’s quarterback rating fall into a whole different tier than the players listed above.

The full list of QBs between Carr’s rating (87.5) and Montana are Chad Pennington, Matt Schaub, Colin Kaepernick, Andy Dalton, Matthew Stafford, Carson Palmer, Daunte Culpepper, and Jeff Garcia.

Not suggesting Carr is better or worse than any one of the players listed, but it’s at least interesting to see the impact dropped passes have had on his career.

Can we get that fixed this year, Gruden?

twitter: @raidersbeat


3 thoughts on “What Would Derek Carr’s Career Look Like Without All The Dropped Passes?

  1. IF only one thing changes I’d like to see this change. Catch the freakin ball gents, it’s your ONLY job.

  2. That’s a pretty cool article. I’ve been wondering how badly his WR’s were screwing up his numbers over the yrs. Jordy Nelson should definitely help improve those numbers this year.

  3. I get so tired of the vultures that perch themselves waiting for Carr to fail . It’s been happening since he was drafted. Some of those people couldn’t stand being wrong when his numbers improved from 2014 to 2016 and when last year happened they descended like predators with their ” I told you so ” articles, podcasts and tweets. In truth, Carr has succeeded in spite of many things going against him which includes a terrible defense that constantly put him in a position to have to outscore the opposition, hands of stone by his receivers, a lackluster running game and an idiot for a head coach. This isn’t to say Carr is blameless for his poor performances when he has them. He has tremendous arm talent and will sometimes rely too heavily on it. If he’s taking a beating he can also get gun shy but he’s only going into his 5th year. Look at Terry Bradshaw’s journey. It took him 4 years and multiple benchings before he became a top flight quarterback. Carr is ahead of Terry at the same point in his career. The kid has supreme talent but he needs help from the rest of the team and the coaching staff. If Gruden and company can accomplish this, I think we’ll see Carr realize his potential.

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