Who is the second-best quarterback in the AFC West? Drew Lock and Derek Carr have cases.
Each team in the AFC West usually had their time with the division title. But that all changed once Patrick Mahomes started under center for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2018.
In two short years, Mahomes secured the NFL and Super Bowl LIV MVP Awards, as well as a Lombardi Trophy, helping him secure a half-billion dollar contract extension that locks him in until 2032.
There’s no denying that Mahomes is the top quarterback in the division, but who ranks below him? Based off this offseason, the Los Angeles Chargers rank last at the position due to the uncertainty at the position (Tyrod Taylor vs. Justin Herbert).
But who deserves to be named the second-best signal caller in the AFC West?
Drew Lock or Derek Carr?
Carr joined the now-Las Vegas Raiders as a second-round draft pick out of Fresno State in 2014. In his first training camp, Carr earned the starting job by beating veteran Matt Schaub, where he put up typical numbers as a rookie quarterback.
However, Carr really shined after his first season. Carr helped lead the Raiders to a postseason berth in the 2016 season prior to suffering a fractured fibula late in the campaign. Additionally, Carr earned three consecutive Pro Bowl nominations from 2015-17. That’s nothing to scoff at.
But once Jon Gruden entered the fray as the Raiders’ new head coach in 2018, Carr production dropped. While Carr put up over 4,000 yards in each of the past two seasons, he’s only thrown 40 total touchdowns in that span. Yet, his completion percentages were strong (68.9, 70.4), which is what you’d like to see from your starting signal caller.
During the 2019 pre-draft process, Lock was expected to be taken in the first round by one of the quarterback-needy teams. That didn’t happen, as the Denver Broncos gladly scooped up the Missouri passer in the second round.
Lock wasn’t thrusted onto the field early, as he sat behind the likes of Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen. But Lock finally received his shot after Flacco went down with a season-ending neck injury and Allen did nothing to convince head coach Vic Fangio to allow him to keep the starting gig.
The young quarterback played five games this past season and helped lead the Broncos to four wins. However, he didn’t do much statistically to blow viewers and analysts away. Lock tallied 1,070 passing yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions on a 64.1 completion percentage. Those numbers can be attributed to the conservative play-calling by then-offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello.
While Lock has the brighter future with a tremendous arsenal of weapons entering the upcoming season, it’s hard to name him as the AFC West’s second-best quarterback right now. Lock has had such a limited sample size in the NFL, and we won’t know how he’ll perform in new coordinator’s Pat Shurmur’s offense in 2020.
So for now, Carr has the edge. But that could change if he loses his job to Marcus Mariota or if Lock blows us all away.
Winner: Derek Carr