Everyone wants an NFL comparison for college players coming out, because obviously not everyone has time to scout college football so it’s a lot easier if they have a guy in the pros already that they can compare their game to.
For Alabama star quarterback A.J. McCarron, one comparison that’s been thrown around a lot is Tom Brady, if only for the fact that all McCarron does is win ball games. Of course, no one is trying to say that McCarron is potentially the best quarterback of all-time coming out of nowhere. He is the QB of the most prolific and successful college football team in a long, long time.
If all goes according to plan this season, McCarron may well be a three-time National Champion as a starting quarterback, having played with one of the greatest football coaches of all-time with some of the greatest college football players to set foot on a field.
McCarron knows how the best-of-the-best prepare, he knows what they eat, how they sleep–okay this is getting kind of weird…
What I’m trying to say is that McCarron is compared to Tom Brady because he wins football games better than any QB in college football, and despite that fact no one is talking about him as a number one pick, and no one right now is even talking about McCarron as a first round pick.
At 6’4″ 214 pounds, McCarron has the ideal measurables for an NFL QB. His success in college is undeniable. His trajectory of improvement as a passer is also undeniable. There is no pass McCarron can’t make, and we’ve certainly seen him operate out of a pro-style offense at Alabama.
The biggest knock on McCarron is the fact of the talent around him has been far greater than most college QBs will ever see, and the fact that whenever it has been needed, McCarron has been able to rely on a steady ground game to dominate opponents, and not his right arm all the time.
In his senior season, I think something has really stood out to me, though. In Alabama’s two biggest games of the season–vs. Texas A&M, vs. LSU–he has completed 34-of-49 passes for 513 yards and seven touchdowns…no interceptions. Not to mention the fact that with his three TD passes against LSU, McCarron has completed multiple touchdown passes in three straight games for the first time in his collegiate career.
That’s a remarkable stat for a guy playing for his third national title this season.
Right now, NFL Draft Scout ranks McCarron as the 95th best player in the country and has him down as a solid third round pick. He would join plenty of other big name quarterbacks in recent years to be drafted in the third round after a phenomenal college career, but other guys dropped for different reasons. Two that stand out in my mind are Colt McCoy and Russell Wilson, both of whom have had very different NFL careers to this point.
McCoy was drafted into a losing culture by the Cleveland Browns, who thought they might be able to draft the savior of their franchise in the third round. McCoy made some plays in the NFL and won some games, but he fizzled out pretty quickly.
Russell Wilson was drafted into a completely different culture with Seattle, who had assumed Matt Flynn would be the starting quarterback (funny). Wilson wound up one of the best rookie QBs we have seen in recent memory, and is now the field general for one of the best teams in the NFL.
McCarron is a guy you want leading your locker room, but I think if he’s not going to be a high first round pick (and he likely won’t as of the time of this posting) I think some team with a winning culture needs to make McCarron one of their potential options for the future. Teams like Denver, Kansas City, New England, New Orleans, San Francisco, Indianapolis, perennial powers like that (forgive me if I left off your team, it wasn’t intentional) should all be looking at McCarron as a viable option for the future as he is a player who comes from a winning culture with NFL coaches and a ton of NFL players surrounding him.
He doesn’t need to come in and start immediately as a rookie, but he needs to get to a team that has a stable head coach, a team that he can digest the offense for a year or two and come in when his name is called upon at a moments notice.
Not unlike Tom Brady did.
I think McCarron has the chops to be an NFL quarterback, and potentially to be a better passer at the next level than he has been in college. If he can get into the right situation, he could be a major steal in the 2014 NFL Draft.