Oakland Raiders: 7 Things To Keep An Eye On Against Arizona Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 12: Derek Carr
GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 12: Derek Carr /
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Oakland Raiders

A Surprising Camp Battle?

In last year’s Draft, McKenzie made the unusual (for him) move of trading up for a player. And that player, of course, was Michigan State’s Connor Cook.

Many scouts thought Cook had early round talent and that it was character concerns that forced his slide down the draft board. Most thought McKenzie got a steal when he was able to pounce on Cook in the fourth round – although, it didn’t quite work out as well as the team had hoped.

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  • Cook was drafted to be a backup, he had limited reps, and he was a rookie to boot, so his dismal performance in 2016 isn’t entirely his fault. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a rookie – especially given that his first start came in Oakland’s first playoff game since he was a kid.

    But now, a year later, having been in the system for a full season, one would think that he’d have a grasp on it and be ready to go. But to this point in camp, that hasn’t been the case.

    To create a little competition, the Raiders brought in former Bills first round pick E.J. Manuel.

    With the team letting Matt McGloin walk, the Raiders needed a third quarterback on the depth chart. And most thought the pecking order would go Carr, Cook, Manuel.

    But to this point in camp, Manuel has looked to be the far more competent of the two backups. Even though he’s just coming into it, by most accounts, he seems to have a better grasp on the system, is sharper, more accurate, and isn’t having the struggles Cook seems to be having.

    We saw last year just how critical having competent backups behind Carr is. And though both still need to prove it over the course of the exhibition season, thus far, Manuel seems to have a leg up on Cook to be Carr’s primary understudy.

    It’s an unexpected camp battle, but one that will be interesting to see play out.