"I think we were pretty excited," said director of player personnel Joey Clinkscales, standing in for McKenzie. "At the point in time of the draft, Derek was the highest-rated guy on the board. We were pretty comfortable at that pick taking him."
Clinkscales said the Raiders fielded several calls from teams who wanted the pick, and entertained the thought of moving down in the second round, though they never considered moving up.
Asked whether the team envisions Carr as its quarterback of the future, he said: "We took him in the second round. We would like to think so."
The only passers taken higher by the Raiders since the 1970 merger were Marc Wilson (No. 15 in 1980), Todd Marinovich (No. 24 in 1991) and JaMarcus Russell (No. 1 in 2007). And yes, you are forgiven if that list causes you to either tremble or double over in laughter.
Carr, who lives in Bakersfield (where he spent his senior year of high school), is practically an NFL lifer. He joined his older brother on stage at Radio City Music Hall at the age of 11 when the Houston Texans made David the first pick in franchise history in 2002, and was studying film with his sibling at 12. What's more, his uncle Lon Boyett was briefly with the Raiders in the late 1970s.
Derek followed David to Fresno State, and thrived. As a senior, he became the fourth quarterback in Division I history to throw for more than 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in a season, at one point attempting 305 consecutive passes without an interception. Carr finished eighth in Heisman Trophy voting.
Scouts loved his arm and his attitude, but questioned the system in which he played. The Bulldogs' offense ran almost exclusively from a shotgun formation, and Carr survived on short throws off one-step drops.
He helped dispel a lot of the suspicion with a strong performance at the Senior Bowl in late January. The consensus said he outplayed every quarterback at the event, which including Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo and San Jose State's David Fales.
The Texans traded for Matt Schaub in 2007 to replace David Carr, who never developed into the franchise quarterback they were looking for. Now comes the possibility that the Raiders will groom Derek Carr to take over for Schaub, the expected 2014 starter whom they traded for in March.
Many Raiders fans, dubious of Schaub's ability to turn around a career that went off the rails last season, will be rooting for Derek Carr to assume the starting job right away. That's not the plan.
"He's a young quarterback," Clinkscales said of Carr. "We aren't expecting him to walk in the door and be the starter. We have a starter."
Carr sounded fine with that.
"If I'm the backup, my role, it doesn't change," he said. "I'm still gonna help the team win. How can I help Schaub during the game? ... Can I watch the safety? Can I watch the corners? Can I tell him when they were in this front, when they played this coverage, when we were in this formation they ran this coverage, brought this blitz on this down and distance? What can I do to help? All I'm here to do in Oakland is help that team win."