A.J. McCarron Did Not Falter Despite Alabama Defeat

Nov 30, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron (10) consoles Alabama Crimson Tide kicker Cade Foster (43) after a missed field goal during the fourth quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

It would be easy to dismiss A.J. McCarron as a first round quarterback next year after his hopes for a third-straight BCS championship with Alabama came crashing down in their epic visit to Auburn.  That doesn’t mean one should.

Auburn loss overshadows how well McCarron played in tough environment

Almost every time the Crimson Tide has lost a game since McCarron took over in 2011, all both of them, it was because he played poorly.  For once the mighty powerhouse actually blew a game when they got a terrific performance from their quarterback.  McCarron finished the Iron Bowl with 277 passing yards and three touchdowns.  That includes two drives in which he had to start at the one-yard line, one of which he lofted a beautiful, gutsy pass out of the end zone for a 99-yard touchdown that in most games would’ve been a backbreaker.  At no time did he seem flustered or too small for the moment.  He made good decisions even when drives stalled, throwing the ball out of bounds under pressure.  In the end he was undone by a multitude of mental mistakes by his teammates.  Alabama had six penalties in the game, several of them badly timed false starts or holding calls.  They also had several key dropped passes, including one in the end zone.  On top of that McCarron set up five field goal opportunities.  Two of them went wide, another was blocked and the fourth was bypassed by head coach Nick Saban due to the prior gaffes.  Everybody knows what happened on the fifth.

McCarron can still fortify 2014 NFL draft stock with strong bowl showing

The quarterback obviously draws the most fire for whether his team wins or loses.  That is simply the reality of playing the most important position in the sport of football.  It is something A.J. McCarron accepts, which is why teams cannot overlook his grace in the wake of the Auburn defeat.  Instead of hanging his head, crying or shouting at referees, the senior showed his maturity by calmly trotting off the field and greeting his family for post-game hugs and kisses.  As the saying goes, a player has nothing to feel ashamed of when he leaves everything on the field.  McCarron did that, and does that every game he plays in.  It’s why he’s a winner.  Scouts will debate talent, which is their job.  Yet playing quarterback in the pros is about understanding the game and being able to play it at high speeds with efficiency.  That takes intelligence.  McCarron has that in spades, not to mention a nice set of skills to go with it.  Like or not, his season is not over.  There is still time to offer a little more proof of why he should be a Heisman candidate and why he deserves consideration for the first round in the 2014 NFL Draft.  Going out a winner in another major bowl game would certainly help.

Topics: 2014 Nfl Draft, A.j. Mccarron, Alabama, Auburn

Want more from NFL Mocks?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix. Enter your email and stay in the know.
  • bjigler

    Hate to break it to you, but McCarron just doesn’t have the arm to be a first round QB. No scout seriously views him as such. His 99-yard pass was a floater which he was lucky that Cooper turned it into a TD. He benefits from an elite offensive line, elite running game, elite defense, good receivers, and the best coach in all of college football. He’s barely better than a game manager. He’s a 3rd round pick, at best. I don’t care that he’s won two national championships, he just doesn’t have the skill set to be an NFL starter or a first round pick. Those are facts.

    • Erik Lambert

      Okay. Here’s a fact. Those same NFL scouts thought the same thing about Joe Montana, Tom Brady, Bart Starr, Fran Tarkenton, and Johnny Unitas just to name a few. This whole obsession with arm strength is ridiculous in my mind. McCarron runs the offense that is required of him with that team and whenever he’s been asked to make plays through the air he does, like he did against Auburn. You don’t need a huge arm to know exactly how to exploit defenses. You need a good head on your shoulders. McCarron has one of the best.

    • Patrick Moore

      “…intangibles are off the charts; very clutch and has tremendous leadership abilities. His biggest rise will occur between the end of the college season and the draft; he will show off his very high football IQ and will probably interview and work out extremely well. GM’s will fall in love with the fact that he is mature and good character (unlike Manziel).” Something you said about Derek Carr, that I happen to agree with, that also applies 100% to McCarron. I also agree with that fact that he probably won’t be a 1st round pick due to arm strength. However, to write him off as a game manager and not capable of being an NFL starter is to grossly underestimate this guy. Between Carr and McCarron, based purely on talent, you take Carr, but whoever gets McCarron (especially if it is in the 3rd round or later) will get a steal. We are not talking about Tim Tebow here; this is a winner that can throw the ball.

      • Erik Lambert

        Completely agree, Patrick. He just needs the right coach and the right offense.

    • djbillyd

      Because he manages all of those things you reference, O-line, RB’s “D”, GREAT receivers, give him what all NFL teams want in their QB…, LEADERSHIP. If you knew business like you THINK you know football, you would know this. Look at RGIII, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton. These guys were talented as hell, physically. And it still took them a couple or three years to bring it. RGIII is still not there yet. Does he not have an arm? But does he have the leadership to control his arm, and his legs to the point that they help the team? No.
      So, hate to break it to you, but you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. You’re dumb enough to have to be shown, but you’ll see on draft day.

      • Wyatt Schreiner

        RGIII led his team to the playoffs his rookie year before tearing an ACL, and rushing back before he was ready. Russell Wilson led his team to the playoffs last year and this year they’re 11-1. Cam Newton has played sensational and his team has won 8 in a row and is going to make the playoffs. Look at the quarterbacks that were at Alabama before Mccarron, Greg Mcelroy and John Parker Wilson. They were both Game Managers and leaders like Mccarron who excelled in Alabama’s offense because of the great talent around them. They are both back ups in the nfl now. Any of the top 15 quarterbacks in college football right now could have won 2 national championships with Alabama. It’s easy to be a great leader and game manager when you have the best player at every position on your team.

        • djbillyd

          It’s more difficult to lead a group of superstars than lower echelon players Wyatt. I think just pure logic would tell you that. Every skilled player wants the ball, and when they don’t get it, there are often problems. AJ was a great leader, and still is. I think he depends too much, this year, on his “play-making”.
          You need to talk to a few coaches, and ask them is it easy to lead the “stars”, or not.

  • Pingback: McCarron Did Not Falter Despite Alabama Defeat : BamaFootball4Life