AJ McCarron is built to sustain and excel in the NFL.
As the NFL draft nears football enthusiast are debating among each other on who will be the first player taken by the Texans. Names like Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, and Teddy Bridgewater circulate the world that is professional football. While I don't think you can go wrong with Manziel or Bridgewater, I'm not sold on Bortles and think he may be a draft bust in the making. All that set aside, the QB who I believe will have the longest and most successful career isn't even an after thought in the conversation, unless you're in Tuscaloosa of course. AJ McCarron is built to sustain and excel in the NFL.
Why is no one talking about McCarron? Why is it that two QBs from the AAC are vying for the #1 overall spot and a guy from the SEC who won 90% of the games he started (including 2 BCS Titles) gets the cold shoulder? There are a few characteristics that I believe will help AJ stand out among the other QBs in the draft this season. Size, consistency, toughness, and intelligence.
Mccarron stands at 6'4" and 214 lbs, clearly an NFL sized QB. While Manziel is 210 lbs, he only stands at 6'1". We have seen success from the like of Russell Wilson from a shorter QB, but it doesn't mean every QB of Manziel's stature will prevail in the NFL. Bridgewater, however, is 6'3" but only weighs 196 lbs. I'd be afraid of this kid getting snapped in half after getting hit by Robert Mathis. If I were an owner and I saw three guys who I know had the skill to play at the NFL level, why wouldn't I take the guy who is the biggest?
Has there been a more consistent QB in college since 2010? While starting for the Crimson Tide, McCarron boasted a 35-4 record, hoisted 2 crystal balls, had a completion percentage of at least 66 every season, and never threw more than 7 picks in a season. As an NFL owner, what do you want out of you QB? You want a guy who will manage the offense, take care of the ball, and make the occasional big play when needed. McCarron is all of that. He has shown he can run an offense, is notorious for not turning the ball over (minus the Sugar Bowl vs OU) and we've seen him make plays. In 2013 he completed 65%, and threw 12 TDS and 0 INTs on passes of 20 yards or more.
There are two kinds of tough, physical and AJ has both. Not only does he get up after each play no matter how hard he gets hit, but he also has the mental toughness to play well even when trailing (4 TDs and 1 INT in 2013). Of course there was the boat accident when he was a child as well (full story) .
If you can learn and perfect a Nick Saban playbook and run his offense for three years, you're kind of smart. Holding a 3.0 gpa for most of his time at Alabama, its no secret that McCarron is smart. You will need a smart kid at QB if you want to be a successful NFL team and McCarron has the brains to do it.
Add all these up and you can see that AJ McCarron will be the best quarterback to come out of this draft. No knock on Manziel, Bortles, or Bridgewater, but this dude is just a winner. Hoping we don't see a repeat of the Brady six come this April. If you're an NFL owner and you want a solid young QB to build your franchise around, look no further than the kid from Mobile.