Derek Carr and Blake Bortles were pretty closely tied together at the end of 2015, but entering the final quarter of the 2016 season it is clear which quarterback was the superior draft choice.
There is no more important position in the NFL than quarterback. The Jacksonville Jaguars thought they got it right at third overall in 2014 with Blake Bortles.
The Oakland Raiders may have actually gotten it right in the second round of that same draft.
Derek Carr just completed his 10th win of the 2016 NFL season, all but securing his team’s place among the best of the AFC and the NFL as a whole. His team leads the AFC West division, topping the Kansas City Chiefs and Super Bowl-defending Denver Broncos. He, and the Raiders, have clearly progressed since posting just seven wins in 2015.
Meanwhile, Blake Bortles languishes at 10 career wins. His five victories in 2015 have not been built on and he is struggling to take care of the ball in close losses. Bortles has just two 2016 wins under his belt.
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The differences are stark. On the one hand is a quarterback completing 65.5 percent of his passes and throwing 24 touchdowns to just five interceptions. On the other hand is a quarterback completing 58.4 percent of his passes and throwing 20 touchdowns to a league-leading 15 interceptions.
At the start of the season it would have been a fun exercise to compare these two quarterbacks through the season. It would have been interesting to see them both progress and grow as they assumed leadership of franchises on the rise.
Instead, we’ve seen severe regression, crashing and burning in one case and the other actually fulfilling his potential and pulling his once-glorious franchise back to prominence.
While the final chapter is far from written in Bortles’ career, it’s tough not to look at his 10 career wins and compare them to Carr’s 10 wins this season and think what could have been. Carr has been everything Bortles hasn’t in 2016 and it’s at least a little sour to see that the Jags just can’t seem to get it right.