Raiders' Derek Carr says he doesn't want first pick in the draft

ByPaul Gutierrez ESPN logo
Thursday, November 22, 2018

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- While the Oakland Raiders are in the running for the top pick of next April's NFL draft, quarterback Derek Carr has other plans.

"I want to mess up the draft," Carr said Wednesday. "I don't want the first pick. I want to win all these games. I want everybody to be mad at me for that. That's what I want to accomplish."

Bold talk from the field general of a 2-8 team that has defeated only the Cleveland Browns, 45-42, in overtime and the Arizona Cardinals, 23-21, on Sunday?

Perhaps. But Oakland, which is in the midst of a massive reconstruction project, is essentially in a three-team race for the top pick, along with the Cardinals (2-8) and San Francisco 49ers (2-8).

Three-win teams are the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Browns.

At the moment, the Raiders are projected to have the No. 2 overall pick, per ESPN's Power Football Index, behind the Cardinals.

It has been a strange season for coach Jon Gruden in his return to the sideline after nine years in the booth for ESPN's "Monday Night Football" as the Raiders are at or near the bottom of nearly every team statistical category.

The trades of All-Pro edge rusher Khalil Mack and Pro Bowl receiver Amari Cooper have hastened the rebuilding, two years before the team relocates to Las Vegas.

"The drafts did not help supplement what we were doing in the free-agent market," Raiders owner Mark Davis told recently. "If you look at our roster now, it's a bunch of free-agent one-year guys that are mercenaries. And they're great guys and they're Raiders. Once a Raider, always a Raider... but we just don't have the overall talent of a 22-man roster."

From Carr's perspective, though, it is about gaining confidence going forward.

"For us as an offense it's really just building continuity," Carr said. "We've got a lot of young guys playing. We've got a lot of new guys playing. I just think it's so cool what an opportunity we have. Everyone sees what's going on, what we're having to deal with, but why not just go out and win some games? That would be so cool for this group to be able to hold onto."