Alabama’s A.J. McCarron Has a Shot at the Top Pick?

Apr 20, 2013; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide White Team quarterback AJ McCarron (10) drops back to pass against the Red Team during the annual A-Day game at Bryant Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

As of this point in time, I don’t see any college player out there who is going to unseat Jadeveon Clowney as the #1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, but if any player is going to do it, you figure it has to be a quarterback, right?

In speaking to a college director in the NFL, NFL Network’s Albert Breer learned that the top two players who could unseat Clowney at this point in time are Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater and Alabama’s A.J. McCarron.

This is just one person’s opinion, and while Bridgewater is pretty universally linked to the first or second overall pick at this point in time, McCarron’s inclusion in that conversation is a bit surprising, but it makes sense.

McCarron is a high character leader with a good head on his shoulders, capable of making all the throws and being a great field general for a team. There’s nothing that really stands out about McCarron’s game, but he did look like a solid top 40 pick to me when I watched some of his games back earlier this offseason.

I’m very excited to see how McCarron–one of the winningest QBs in college and Alabama history–adjusts with even more pressure on him going into his senior season. He’s obviously been wildly successful at Alabama, and despite taking 23 sacks last year with one of the most stellar offensive lines we’ve seen in college football, McCarron threw just three picks compared to 30 touchdowns.

He is a fiery competitor who played arguably the best game of his collegiate career on the biggest stage against the toughest defense in the nation last season, but as I noted in my pre-season report, there was a significant dip in production as he went up against tougher competition like LSU, Georgia, and Michigan.

McCarron is certainly allowed to have some letdown games, but the pattern is slightly alarming. I want to see him step up and be a force in those kind of games if he is going to be a number one overall pick. Alabama does a great job of playing as a team, and they have so much talent that they could easily make up for a bad game or two by McCarron, so the fact that those performances went largely unnoticed isn’t surprising.

The greatest positives McCarron has in his favor for being a top QB prospect at this point in time are winning and arm talent. NFL scouts can’t really argue with results and the fact that McCarron is a high character player who has ideal mesurables, wins, and has the arm talent to play in the NFL. Perhaps those are the biggest reasons why one college scouting director believes he is a contender for the top overall selection if for some reason it’s not Clowney.