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5th Round: A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama


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4.94 SEC

28.0 INCH

99.0 INCH

7.18 SEC

4.34 SEC



31 1/2"







Given name is Raymond. His younger brother, Corey, is a tight end for the Crimson Tide. The Alabama prep threw for 66 touchdowns and nine interceptions as a three-year starter. Redshirted in 2009. Saw action in all 13 games in '10, including eight as a reserve quarterback, and completed 30-of-48 passes for 389 yards (62.5 percent) with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Was primarily the holder for field goals and extra points. Became the starter in '11 and led Alabama to a national championship after tossing 219-328-2,634-16-5 (66.8) in 13 games. Led the nation with a 175.28 passer efficiency in '12 and the Crimson Tide to back-to-back national championships after posting 211-314-2,933-30-3 (67.2). The 30 TD passes set the school record and he accomplished the feat while playing through shoulder and knee injuries. Had a standout senior campaign in '13, winning the Maxwell Award (college football player of the year), the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and finishing second in the Heisman Trophy voting. Set the Alabama record for passing yards after tossing 226-336-3,063-28-7 (67.3) in 13 starts. Had a 36-4 record in 40 career starts with all four losses coming to opponents ranked in the top 15. Team captain.


STRENGTHS Well-versed operating a pro-style offense and makes NFL-style progression reads. Is comfortable working from under center and in the gun. Mobile enough to sidestep the first wave. Good field vision, timing and anticipation. Very good short-to-intermediate accuracy (evidenced by a 66.9 percent career completion rate). Throws with accuracy on the move -- good wrist snap. Delivers the ball under duress. Has enough arm strength to fit the ball into spots. Consistent throwing mechanics -- has a smooth stroke. Good caretaker and decision-maker. Mature leader. Smart and articulate. Highly competitive team leader -- holds teammates accountable. Very well-prepared. Directed back-to-back national championship offenses.

WEAKNESSES Surrounded by an NFL-caliber supporting cast with a very good offensive line that provides a lot of time to dissect the field. Does not have a big-time, vertical arm. Average athlete. Makes occasional bone-headed decisions. Heaves the deep ball and forces receivers to make adjustments. Does not drive the deep out.


BOTTOM LINE An efficient game-managing quarterback who has shown he can carry an offense at times throughout his career, but more often is dependent on a terrific supporting cast. Grades out most highly for his intangibles and decision-making, knowing when and where to go with the ball, and could earn an NFL starting job.

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STRENGTHS: Good size and height. Balanced passer and gets into a rhythm quickly with proper mechanics. Sees the field well and makes smart, sharp decisions.

Nice job stepping up and moves well within the pocket, showing good footwork to avoid the rush while keeping his eyes downfield. Average athlete with enough foot speed to buy time and make plays outside the pocket.

Nice job recognizing pressure, adjusting and surveying, not afraid to throw the ball away. Good timing and accuracy and throws a very catchable ball with nice touch. High football IQ and operates the offensive gameplan very efficiently. Doesn't miss throws he should make and takes what the defense gives him.

Confident leader with professional intangibles. Shows good fight and resolve on the field. Strong collegiate resume as a three-year starter with a 36-4 career record as a starter (.900), including three National Championship. Holds school records for passing yards in a season (3,063) and career (10,019) and passing touchdowns in a career (77).

WEAKNESSES: Very average body type and build. Lacks an elite arm with average-at-best velocity on downfield throws. Deep ball tends to float too much. Will drop his eye level prematurely at times and abandon his reads.

Gets himself in trouble when attempting to throw off his back foot, struggling to get much juice on passes 20+ yards. Pre-snap reads are a work-in-progress and will predetermine throws or lead defenders to his intended target, allowing them to undercut the route.

Some durability concerns after minor foot surgery in Jan. 2014 and past issues with his right knee and fatigued throwing shoulder.

--Dane Brugler

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The first player I've heard of! Kinda sounds like grooming Andy Dalton behind Andy Dalton, but I won't judge. He hasn't had a chance.

I love to see disgruntled fans on draft day (not all of y'all of course). The draft would be so boring without it. happy.gif

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The first player I've heard of! Kinda sounds like grooming Andy Dalton behind Andy Dalton, but I won't judge.

Best comment I saw on twitter was that McCarron was Andy Dalton with more tats and worse taste in music.


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Good grief.

This is a baffling pick. More about leveraging Dalton's contract negotiations than making this team better.


I don't think it's baffling or about leveraging anything. Dalton has been successful in the system here. McCarron is a similar player and it could be reasonably assumed he'd have success as well. But he's no threat to take the starting job now and as the No. 3 guy likely won't be next year either. He'll spend all this year running the scout team. He's just a developmental QB.

This is Andy's team.

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Yeah. People kept saying we'd be able to tell what the Bengals strategy was going to be with Dalton by if/when they drafted a QB. I think this is our answer.

Like Giodberry said, let's go ahead and get Dalton signed, pronto!

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The first player I've heard of! Kinda sounds like grooming Andy Dalton behind Andy Dalton, but I won't judge.

Best comment I saw on twitter was that McCarron was Andy Dalton with more tats and worse taste in music.


And isn't a ginger which we all know what's holding Andy Dalton back.

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Essentially he's Dalton. Who is himself, Kitna 2.0, so my guess is that they want similar players with similar styles to maintain continuity down the depth chart. To be honest, they probably could let Campbell walk, if they wanted. McCarron could probably handle being the back-up without too much of an issue.

It was too much to ask for them to go after Savage or Thomas or other "project" guy with a big arm and high ceiling. It would cause too much debate.

With Hue, more emphasis on running, adding Hill and getting Giovanni more touches, Dalton (or McCarron) will probably thrive. Does Dalton deserve $13-15M per year? Not if McCarron can do the same thing for a ton less in Hue's system.

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Dalton all over again. Put the heat on and see if this kid falls apart like Andy. Maybe that will be the difference between them.

Lewis wants Dalton signed before the season starts COB. If he gets his way, we don't have a shot for years to come! Let me know if you decide to change teams rather than root for knowing defeat! I'll go with you!!

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reminds me of all of the highly exposed QBs that the NFL draft deemed to be inadequate for the NFL... Doug Flutie, Ty Detmer, on and on. When this many teams pass on you in spite of incredible amounts of game tape, they're not wrong...

I'm not a huge Dalton fan, but hope that the Bengals figure out how to sign him without hamstringing the team

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