Quarterbacks Derek Carr and Teddy Bridgewater were drafted four selections apart in 2014, far lower than many expected.
The Minnesota Vikings acquired a second first-round pick and took Bridgewater at No. 32 overall. The Raiders couldn’t believe their luck when Carr slipped into the second round, and happily selected him at No. 36.
Both rookies were expected to be backup quarterbacks in 2014, titles held when the Raiders and Vikings met in last year’s preseason opener.
Fast forward a year. Carr and Bridgewater are known commodities and believed to be franchise quarterbacks of the future. They’ll meet again this preseason, with a clash on Saturday at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium.
“Teddy is a great guy, very quiet. Spent time with him at the combine and all those things,” Carr said this week. “There were the four quarterbacks where they didn’t know where they were going to fall and we were the last two -- which I’ll never forget -- but I just know that he is a great competitor and a great quarterback.”
Carr made all sixteen starts as a rookie and is the unquestioned leader of a squad on the rise. Bridgewater showed real moxie in 13 starts, and carries high hopes into his second season.
Quarterbacks of the same draft class are often compared as time passes, in an attempt to identify the best of the group. This top tier, also includes Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles (Central Florida) and Cleveland’s Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M). Outside Manziel, everyone in this group is expected to start this season.
Carr completed 58.1 percent of his passes for 3,270 yards, 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 16 starts. His touchdown throws set a record for most by a rookie in a single season. Bridgewater completed 64 percent of his passes 2,919 yards, 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 12 starts.
Carr and Bridgewater will meet twice this year. They play an exhibition on Saturday -- both should play in the first half -- and again on Nov. 15, when the score actually counts.
“I wish him the world of success, except when we play him,” Carr said. “I definitely root for the guy because he’s a good person. I definitely respect that.”
In an odd twist, Carr will be throwing passes to rookie receiver Amari Cooper, who played with Bridgewater at Miami Northwestern High.