As AJ McCarron wraps up his collegiate career at Alabama, folks in the NFL draft community are still trying to put their finger on what he brings to the table. We know he's a winner and has the potential to be a steal in the upcoming draft, but who does he look like when standing in the pocket to make a pass?
Apparently, he looks a lot like one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game: Tom Brady. Well, at least, that's what one AFC college scouting director told Albert Breer of NFL.com:
Good size, outstanding touch on all throws, can make all the throws but only has average arm strength, the executive said. Outstanding progression-read quarterback, makes throws to his second and third reads consistently. Doesn't turn the ball over. Winner. Mentally tough. Has the moxie and cockiness most great QBs have. Very similar to Tom Brady in stature, athletic ability, arm strength, touch.
Slow down there, buddy. You're foaming at the mouth a bit. You realize we're talking about one of the greatest players of all time? A three-time Super Bowl champion, eight-time Pro Bowler and somebody who has shattered NFL records? If there was a Mount Rushmore of quarterbacks, Brady's head would be up there somewhere.
Breer also added that McCarron could be the first quarterback selected:
I'll also say this about AJ McCarron -- Enough people like him to where I think he has a shot to be the first quarterback taken.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 2, 2013
So much for all of the Teddy Bridgewater love entering the season. Marcus Mariota might as well consider coming back to school if that’s the case. Johnny Manziel, anyone? There’s also a couple of sleepers out there, such as Derek Carr, Zach Mettenberger and Tajh Boyd. Man, people really jump on the bandwagon with these quarterbacks.
What's A.J. McCarron's ceiling?
There have been plenty of winning college quarterbacks that have failed miserably in the pros. Take a look at all the quarterbacks who were selected first overall—or even in the first round. Many of them are now selling used cars or cleaning up the mess on aisle four. Looking like the next great thing doesn't mean much.
You see, I make an incredible peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I toast the bread ever so slightly, slap a good chunk of peanut butter on one side and just enough jelly to where it doesn't overpower the creamy goodness. If I were to try and become the next master chef, I'd be lost with all the spices and would probably burn everything in the kitchen. Know your limits.
As for McCarron, he may look like he has most of the tools to be great, but he'll never be Brady. Just ask Bleacher Report's Michael Schottey and Matt Miller:
From what I've seen of McCarron, he passes the minimums in athleticism/arm to be a potential starter ala Dalton, but that's his ceiling— Michael Schottey (@Schottey) December 2, 2013
Tajh Boyd: Jake Locker Zach Mettenberger: Philip Rivers Derek Carr: Jay Cutler AJ McCarron: Matt Schaub Aaron Murray: Case Keenum #QBComps— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) November 11, 2013
Those are both reasonable comparisons. Andy Dalton is a decent quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals. He'll never make the Hall of Fame, but he's manageable and capable of leading his team to the playoffs on a consistent basis. And Matt Schaub was a respectable starter before this season slapped him in the face and Houston Texans fans booed him off the field.
However, Chris Trapasso of Bleacher Report has a slightly different opinion:
I'm not at all saying A.J. McCarron = Tom Brady. But if you compare '99 Brady to '13 McCarron (which that scout isn't doing), it's not CRAZY— Chris Trapasso (@ChrisTrapasso) December 2, 2013
Maybe so, but Brady is just one of a kind—an elite quarterback who comes around once in a generation and doesn't appear human half the time. There aren't many quarterbacks who will ever surpass his legacy.
Whether you think McCarron can become the next great quarterback or not, you almost have to laugh at the comparison. At least let the kid finish college before putting that much pressure on his shoulders. Comparing a player to an all-time great has often proven in the past to be a kiss of death.