AJ McCarron certainly had a decorated college career.
With three years of experience under his belt in Alabama's system, McCarron led his team to back-to-back national titles in 2011 and 2012. Although he fell short in 2013, he produced a solid season, throwing for 3,063 yards, 28 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. His performance allowed him to finish second in Heisman voting.
Despite his .900 winning percentage with the Crimson Tide, NFL scouts aren't fully optimistic about McCarron's ability to become a solid NFL starter.
Let's break down the former Alabama standout's full scouting report and delve into his outlook heading into the 2014 NFL draft.
Weight: 220 pounds
Arm Length: 31.5"
40-Yard Dash: 4.94 seconds
Vertical Jump: 28.0"
Broad Jump: 99.0"
Three-Cone Drill: 7.18 seconds
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.34 seconds
McCarron was impressive throwing at the combine. This was a big plus due to his lackluster production in the aforementioned drills.
Analysts quickly took to Twitter to voice their impressions of McCarron's performance:
McCarron is receiving high praise by analysts and scouts today. Not your typical Alabama QB. #RTR— SEC Sports Insider (@SECSportInsider) February 23, 2014
AJ McCarron is out here telling folks...forget about me if you want to. Nice 3 throws on the 7-step drop set.— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) February 23, 2014
A.J. McCarron has what I'd call a "box of excellence" that goes out to the numbers on either side, and about 30 yards upfield. Nothing more.— SI_DougFarrar (@SI_DougFarrar) February 23, 2014
Doug Farrar's comment may have been the most telling. Although McCarron flashed his accuracy, his lack of arm strength and lack of mobility were present.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller and Matt Bowen break down his day here:
McCarron may have helped himself, although he may also have reminded scouts that he is more of a game-manager than a game-changer.
McCarron looked good throwing the football once again during his pro day. Gil Brandt of NFL.com gave his impression:
McCarron did an excellent job throwing the ball to receivers Kevin Norwood and Kenny Bell. There isn't a consensus on McCarron, with some people really liking the two-time national title-winning quarterback and others not intrigued with the decorated collegiate passer. At Alabama’s pro day, he produced an A-plus workout and appeared a lot better than a mid- to late-round draft pick.
After his performance, McCarron joined Joel Klatt and Peter Schrager of Fox Sports Live to discuss his showing:
- NFL-caliber size and height.
- Balanced passer with a solid rhythm and proper mechanics.
- Sees the field well and makes smart decisions.
- Moves well within the pocket.
- Good job recognizing pressure.
- Doesn't miss throws he should make; takes what the defense gives him.
- Confident leader.
- Average body type and slender build.
- Lacks an elite arm strength and velocity on throws downfield.
- Gets too much air under his deep ball.
- Occasionally throws off his back foot.
- Struggles to get much behind passes over 20 yards.
- Some durability concerns: minor foot surgery in Jan. 2014, past issues with his right knee and fatigued throwing shoulder.
Full overview of McCarron at CBS Sports.
Despite McCarron's NFL size, he lacks an elite frame and could be considered fragile due to past injury concerns. He does have a nice level of accuracy on short-to-intermediate throws but lacks the arm strength for a consistent deep ball.
He's efficient as a game-managing quarterback but doesn't have the skill set to become a game-changing quarterback. He has solid leadership skills and is a good decision-maker.
McCarron could earn an NFL starting job due to his finer qualities. He compares to Andy Dalton of the Cincinnati Bengals. That may not be a bad thing for McCarron's draft stock, as Dalton was a former early second-round pick.
Projected Round: Third
All combine numbers and measurements courtesy of NFL.com's results tracker.