AJ McCarron: Alabama QB Should Declare for NFL Draft Now

Mike HoagCorrespondent IIJanuary 12, 2013

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 07:  AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after defeating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish by a score of 42-14 to win the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

A.J. McCarron said in mid-December that he will return to Alabama for his senior season, but things have changed since.

Since then, McCarron has done something not many other college quarterbacks can claim: He won two consecutive national championships.

Katherine Webb, his girlfriend, exploded on the internet and across the nation, thanks to some controversial remarks by broadcaster Brent Musberger.

Webb, a former Miss Alabama winner, has been a hit on the celebrity circuit ever since and will reportedly be in this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.

McCarron’s “buzz factor” is at an all-time high as a result of his success on the field and his significant other’s success off it.

McCarron also left some doubts about his status for next season during a Twitter conversation with Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett. Dockett posed that McCarron could come help the Cards after bad season, and this is how he responded:

@ddockett and talk to them and tell them to get me and I will come help y'all!

— AJ McCarron (@10AJMcCarron) January 8, 2013

McCarron could have easily been talking about the 2014 NFL draft, when he plans to make his transition.

While that may be true, and McCarron’s comment is likely not in the proper context, there isn’t much he would gain from another season in college football.

His near-perfect performance against the Irish put his skill set on display to every NFL scout in the business. His reputation as a “game manager” might not be all that bad of a calling, either.

He has demonstrated he can make all or most of the throws required of him. While he won’t have the talent advantage at the pro level like he enjoys at Alabama, he will have the ability to step in and begin the learning process that will help his transition to the pro game.

McCarron won’t likely walk into training camp and win the starting QB job from a team’s incumbent passer. But, with time in a system, he could perform well enough to lead a team like he has the Crimson Tide.

It’s better that the red-shirt junior QB jumpstart that process and get in the pipeline sooner rather than later.

Matt Miller, Bleacher Report’s NFL Draft Lead Writer, recommended McCarron return for his senior season at Alabama during the 2012 season:

The best course of action for McCarron would be returning to Alabama for his senior season, where he'll have another season to develop under NFL-level coaches while continuing to build his resume as a leader and as a quarterback who can make plays outside the system.

While Miller certainly had a point at the time he said this, McCarron doesn’t have much more he can learn from Nick Saban and his staff after four years with the program.

His momentum and stock might never be bigger than it is right now. He should take the next step now, with the national spotlight on him and a huge win over the country’s biggest football program under his belt.