The Oakland Raiders’ starting quarterback position is obviously not up for grabs as Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was just named as the No. 11 best player in the NFL, but the backup position will be highly contested.
The two primary competitors are Raiders quarterbacks Connor Cook and EJ Manuel.
Manuel, who is currently getting the second team reps, has always had all the talent in the world. He was taken No. 16 overall in the 2013 NFL draft, but never had the right guidance in Buffalo and fizzled out.
With Carr in Oakland, Manuel will have the best teacher he has ever had. Hopefully, Carr will help to bring out the best in Manuel and revitalize his career.
Cook did not look great in his one career start against the Houston Texans, but that was a playoff game on the road, an impossible task for any rookie quarterback.
Cook was harassed all afternoon by the Texans’ defense and was forced into throwing three interceptions. However, Raiders coach Jack Del Rio thinks Cook has progressed nicely since that game and is more comfortable this offseason.
Cook was thrown into a raging fire and made it out alive. The experience itself should help Cook understand exotic blitz packages, hostile environments, and what a great defense looks like.
Now, whenever Cook steps on the field, he will be ready to go mentally as nothing will ever be able to compare to his first NFL start.
Manuel, as expected, should just beat out Cook for the backup position. Manuel is the more talented guy with more arm strength and more playing experience.
However, the organization really likes Cook, and he will eventually be the backup behind Carr.