Let's be clear; the Oakland Raiders have their quarterback.
He wears No. 4, and after an impressive sophomore campaign in which nearly every one of his statistical metrics increased from his rookie season, he earned his first Pro Bowl berth at the conclusion of the 2015 season.
Depth throughout the roster – quarterback position included – is critical in today's NFL, so although Derek Carr will hopefully be the sole quarterback under center throughout the season, the importance of having a viable backup or two can't be overstated.
With Training Camp 2016 set to officially begin Thursday, let's take a look at the quarterbacks the Silver and Black have on the roster, and what we can expect to see from them.
Quarterback – Derek Carr—Third Season – Fresno State
As I mentioned earlier, Carr improved in nearly every statistical category in his sophomore season.
Completion percentage? Up.
Total yards? Up.
Passing touchdowns? Also up.
In 2015, the Fresno State-product established himself as one of the better young quarterbacks in the league, and that improvement was one of the key reasons the Raiders won four more games than they did in Carr's rookie season.
Now, heading into 2016, Carr is entering his second season in offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's scheme, and hopefully that comfort and familiarity will result in an improved mastery of the offense going forward.
For the second-consecutive season, there won't be any intrigue as far as who the team's starting quarterback will be, and that's a luxury that every team in the NFL would love to have.
Quarterback Connor Cook – Rookie – Michigan State
After an impressive career at Michigan State, the Raiders surprised many around the league by trading up to draft Cook in the fourth round (No. 100 overall) of this year's draft.
Cook found a plethora of success as a Spartan, finishing his career as the university's all-team winningest quarterback with 34 wins, in addition to owning a trio of school records for total passing yards, touchdown passes, and passing attempts.
Standing at 6'4" and boasting an impressive arm, Cook certainly has the measurables you look for in a quarterback, and with Carr firmly planted in front of him, the rookie signal-caller will get a chance to sit back and learn the NFL game, likely competing with Matt McGloin to be the Raiders' primary back-up quarterback.
Quarterback Matt McGloin – Fourth Season – Penn State
Since arriving in Oakland as an undrafted free agent in 2013, McGloin has routinely shown that he's worthy of a roster spot, outlasting other players who have been brought in to seemingly to overtake him as the team's second quarterback.
In 2015, the Scranton, Penn.-native appeared in two games for the Raiders, completing 23 of 32 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns, and heading into 2016, the Raiders' coaching staff knows what it can expect out of McGloin. He's a player who has a good understanding of the offense and is capable of moving the team up and down the field in the case of Carr's absence.
With six starts also under his belt, he's also familiar with preparing for a game as the starting quarterback, so having a player like McGloin on the roster is critical, particularly if Carr were to miss some time due to unforeseen circumstances.
Keep An Eye On…
While there won't be a training camp battle to be the starting quarterback for the Raiders, there almost certainly will be a battle between Cook and McGloin to be the second quarterback listed on the depth chart.
It seems like each training camp, McGloin has to fight to keep his hold on the back-up role, and this year he looks poised to go toe-to-toe with Cook throughout training camp and the preseason.
The fiery signal-caller is a true competitor, and watching him and Cook push each other all training camp will be something I'll be keeping a close eye on.