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Instant Debate

Derek Carr, Teddy Bridgewater among top quarterbacks 25 or younger

Wake up and watch with the world. For the first time ever, the NFL is streaming a live game on Yahoo. Bills vs. Jaguars live from London, Sunday, October 25th, at 9:30 a.m. ET.

When the Jacksonville Jaguarstake the field in London this Sunday, they'll be doing so with one of the more prized resources in the NFL: a promising young quarterback.

Blake Bortles (23 years old) has had his share of ups and downs, with a 4-15 record (including a 1-5 mark this season) as the Jaguars' starter. But Bortles also has made some strides in his second pro campaign, boosting his passer rating (83.5, up from 69.5) and yards per attempt (6.7, up from 6.1) while throwing almost twice as many touchdown passes (13) as interceptions (seven).

He's not the only young signal caller in the spotlight. Derek Carr (24) has the 2-3 Raiders in second place in the AFC West, while the Vikings are 3-2 with Teddy Bridgewater (22) under center. Rookie Marcus Mariota (21) had a record-breaking career-opener, but he's lost four straight and is currently battling an MCL sprain. First overall pick Jameis Winston (21) has one more win than Mariota, but his statistical production (56.6 percent completion rate, 77.6 passer rating, 7:7 TD-to-INT ratio) has left something to be desired. And don't forget about former first-round picks Johnny Manziel (22) and EJ Manuel (25), who have seen important snaps while filling in as backups with the Browns and Bills, respectively.

All of these quarterbacks, age 25 or younger, are being counted on in some fashion. But if you had to build a franchise around one of them, who would you pick?

Derek Carr has the most experience, and he seems like he has the best grasp on the offense that he's running. I think Carr is better suited in the long run out of all the young quarterbacks. His pocket awareness has gotten better, along with his understanding of the game, his receivers and expectation of being an NFL quarterback. He also has learned a lot from his brother, David. I think that's helped him adjust quickly. I'll go with Derek Carr, just because I feel like, out of those quarterbacks, he has shown the most growth in his career so far. He has an aggression that you can't teach. He doesn't play with much hesitancy, which most young QBs have, because they get kind of shocked by the speed of the game and how fast it's moving in front of their eyes. Carr hasn't been affected by that. Yes, he's made youthful mistakes, but more times than not, he's playing like a veteran.

His biggest improvement from a year ago is his discernment on where to throw the ball. Last year, sometimes he would bail the defense out by just trying to get rid of it. Now, he's making smart decisions. Instead of forcing the ball into coverage, he might throw it away. You see him taking bits and pieces from veteran quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers and applying it to what he does. Teddy Bridgewater is my choice for a franchise quarterback. He's the one with the most complete skill set, and he has the intelligence, confidence and leadership you look for in a young QB. From a physical standpoint, he can make all the throws at the short and intermediate range, but he can be a little spotty on deep throws. He has the ability to do everything you want to see done in the playbook, from traditional dropbacks to movement passes to being able to throw short, quick-rhythm throws. He can do all of those things. Plus, he has talented running back Adrian Peterson in the fold, who enhances the play action.

His improvements over two years aren't necessarily reflected in his numbers, but I think he has better command of the offense. He does a better job getting to all the options in a route concept. The Vikings are winning, and he understands how to play winning football. He manages risky throws and knows when to dial it up and when to scale it back down, and just be OK with, "Hey, we didn't fail. We'll punt and lean on the defense." He understands situational football and understands how to play complementary football. The other young guys are good, but they don't have all the things Teddy does. Derek Carr reminds me a little of Brett Favre. He's got a little grit to him and a certain toughness. He's a natural-born leader and has all the intangibles. He's becoming a good field general and the leader of the Oakland Raiders at a very young age, and they know it. The organization is helping the QB by surrounding him with a supporting cast that includes Amari Cooper and Latavius Murray, among others. He's going to be the guy there for a long time, and he won't be looking over his shoulder. He's really on the uptick. Bridgewater is probably the most mature and complete quarterback. His transition from the system at Louisville to Minnesota has been smooth. You can just tell his maturity level has grown from Year 1 to Year 2. He keeps his nose clean as far as off-the-field issues go. From what I see, from a distance, everybody in that organization likes Bridgewater. I'm not saying that the other quarterbacks aren't well-liked, but I think Bridgewater is doing a good job and is continuing to get better. I'd build my team around Derek Carr. He has a quick release, is very intelligent and has that pro-quarterback pedigree from his brother, David. Derek has had the easiest transition from the college game to the pro game at this point. I think his leadership has grown, and you can see it in the way the Raiders are playing. They are more competitive now because of him, and he holds players accountable. He's more familiar with how teams are trying to take him apart and he has good study habits.

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