AJ McCarron will stay for his senior season at Alabama and it was no doubt the right decision for the Crimson Tide signal-caller.
Per Alex Scarborough of ESPN.com, here is what McCarron had to say in statement about his ultimate decision to stay:
There were some factors in my decision to return to Alabama for my senior year but after talking to my family and coaches, I knew it was the right choice for me.
McCarron had a great junior season for Nick Saban and company. Not only did he compile 2,669 yards with a completion percentage of 66.8 percent, he was also the most efficient quarterback in the nation with 26 touchdowns and three interceptions.
Not to mention, his quarterback rating of 173.1 was tops in the nation.
With such a weak quarterback class in this year's draft, it seemed like a no-brainer that McCarron should leave for the greener pastures of the NFL. However, scouts didn't have McCarron as highly ranked as some might have thought, thus making it an easy decision to stay.
Alex Scarborough of ESPN.com shared what one draft analyst was thinking:
"To me, he certainly doesn't look like a first-round pick," ESPN college football and draft analyst Kevin Weidl explained. Weidl said he'd start with the third round for McCarron at this point: "He needs to get stronger, sturdier in the pocket and improve some accuracy issues I saw at times."
So clearly there is some room for improvement and so much so that McCarron would likely fall behind both Geno Smith and Matt Barkley on the draft board. Both of those quarterbacks are late first-rounders at best, likely pushing McCarron well beyond the first round and potentially into the third.
Another year could do wonders for McCarron's draft stock in time for the 2014 draft. The Crimson Tide quarterback has played in countless big games and will have a great chance to add a few more national titles to his resume before his career at Alabama is all said and done.
Not to mention his impressive numbers from 2012 will only get better as McCarron gains more experience and the game continues to slow down for him. And who knows? He could put up Heisman numbers and that would certainly help McCarron's draft stock soar, potentially making him a top-five pick.
All that's left for McCarron to do is to play great from his first game to the last of his senior season. It was his poor play down the stretch that hurt his chances of being a top-rated quarterback, so that's something that must change in 2013 when McCarron goes up against top opponents.
There is no rush for McCarron to leave now and he was wise in staying on for another season in Alabama. Sure, he could take a step back and gain an even worse draft position next year, but McCarron has yet to take a step back during his Crimson Tide career and it's only forward from here.