Can Jordy Nelson elevate Derek Carr to the next level?


Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is looking forward to throwing to Jordy Nelson in 2018, and rightly so.

Derek Carr has now spent four seasons in the NFL as the quarterback of the Oakland Raiders. Drafted 36th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Raiders immediately made Carr their franchise quarterback, and as a rookie he started all 16 games – the first Oakland quarterback to accomplish that feat since Rich Gannon in 2002.

Over the early stages of his career, Carr has been pretty good as the Raiders’ quarterback, even leading them to a 12-4 record and a playoff appearance in 2016. If he hadn’t suffered a broken fibula in Week 16, he might have led them on a nice playoff run, but instead the Raiders lost to the Texans in the Wild Card round behind third string quarterback Connor Cook.

Despite Oakland’s poor 2017 campaign, in which they just went 6-10 and miss the playoffs, Carr has proven that he has the potential to lead the Raiders to the promise land. But in order for him to elevate his game to the next level, he might need a little more help.

In the upcoming 2018 season, he might finally have that help. This offseason, the Raiders signed wide receiver Jordy Nelson to a two-year deal. Nelson is well-known for his long stint with the Green Bay Packers and catching passes from Aaron Rodgers, one of the all-time greats.

At 33 years old, Nelson is obviously nearing the end of his prime years, but he was always one of the NFL’s premier wideouts, and he could be the helpful piece that Carr needs to get over that hump. Nelson should still have enough in the tank to make a pretty big impact in the Bay Area this season.

“Nothing is being left under the rug,” Carr said, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. “Nothing is being just thrown out the window and not thought about. Jordy is very detailed. He wants to do everything exactly how you want it done. I see why Aaron loved throwing him the ball. He knows if you’re comfortable, you’ll throw it to them. I think all the guys are taking note of that.”

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Adding Nelson to a receiving group that already includes guys like Amari Cooper and Martavis Bryant will allow Carr to really open up the passing game this year. With the Kansas City Chiefs working with a first-year starting quarterback (Patrick Mahomes), 2018 might be a good window for the Raiders to sneak in and make a run at the AFC West title.