Can AJ McCarron retroactively be in the Senior Bowl?
Back in January, John Middlekauff of 95.7 The Game in San Francisco reported that the former Alabama quarterback was skipping the Senior Bowl because he thought he was a top-20 pick:
My sources say AJ McCarron chose not to play in the Senior Bowl (not b/c of the inj) b/c he thinks he's a top 20 pick— John Middlekauff (@JohnMiddlekauff) January 17, 2014
Three rounds into the 2014 NFL draft, five QBs have been selected; not one of those five has been McCarron. Although he may be the best signal-caller available, he'll have to wait until at least Saturday to hear his name called.
Dave Rappoccio of The Draw Play has envisioned some awkward moments in the McCarron household:
AJ McCarron sits quietly in his home during the draft looking at his phone. It rings. He picks it up and eagerly says hello Wrong number— Dave Rappoccio (@DrawPlayDave) May 10, 2014
AJ McCarron opens his fridge. He grabs a cake that says "1st rounder" A single tear rolls down his cheek as it falls into the trash— Dave Rappoccio (@DrawPlayDave) May 10, 2014
NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah thinks that it was ironic that Jimmy Garoppolo, who essentially replaced McCarron in the Senior Bowl, has already been drafted:
Jimmy Garoppolo took AJ McCarron's spot in the SR Bowl and he just got selected ahead of him.— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) May 10, 2014
Albert Breer of NFL.com also found it interesting that the New England Patriots would pass on a "Saban protege" in favor of Garoppolo:
Worth mentioning, on the QB front, that Belichick took Garoppolo over Saban protege AJ McCarron and ex-Schiano recruit Tom Savage.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) May 10, 2014
McCarron was one of a few quarterbacks who have been heavily hyped up over the last few months after largely being disregarded as top picks. A comparison between McCarron to Tom Brady was even made. It just proves how much predraft hype can be so misleading:
Paging Tom Savage, Zach Mettenberger and AJ McCarron. Yeah, that last 6 weeks of incessant hype panned out well for that...— Jeff Risdon (@JeffRisdon) May 10, 2014
Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio doubts that the three-time national champion is getting those first-round grades anymore:
Does A.J. McCarron still have first-round grades from a bunch of teams?— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) May 10, 2014
Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News saw a larger track record of SEC quarterbacks dropping lower than many expected:
Not much respect for SEC QBs. Johnny Manziel slides to 22 in 1st & 3 M's -- Murray, Mettenberger & McCarron -- slide out of first 3 rounds.— Rick Gosselin (@RickGosselinDMN) May 10, 2014
McCarron should be the first quarterback selected on Day 3, but he may not be the first Crimson Tide player, per Chase Goodbread of NFL.com:
At this point, it's not totally certain McCarron will be the next Alabama player picked. Steen, Hubbard, Norwood, Pagan all in play now.— Chase Goodbread (@ChaseGoodbread) May 10, 2014
To a certain extent, McCarron should serve as a cautionary tale. Draft picks are almost always told what they want to hear instead of what is truly the reality. As a result, he was fed what was almost certainly false information and ran with it. He felt his job was done, and the Senior Bowl would be superfluous to his draft preparation.
Instead, declining the invite has only served the narrative that McCarron got way too ahead of himself and has wound up looking foolish as a result.
His misfortune could certainly be an NFL team's good luck. McCarron won a ton of games at Alabama, and that didn't happen by accident. He's a talented quarterback who could contribute in the right situation.
And you can bet that he'll be using this draft slight as motivation.