You Can Have Any of the Quarterbacks in This Year’s Draft or AJ McCarron – Who Do You Take?
Time for some interesting, pointless NFL Draft debate. AJ McCarron has been the latest backup quarterback to draw some interest from NFL general managers. And, of course, us fans are completely enamored with his potential. We don’t know if McCarron is the next Case Keenum/Nick Foles or the next Matt Flynn/Charlie Whitehurst. But, it does beg the question – would you rather have McCarron? Or, would you rather take one of the quarterbacks in this year’s draft class?
This quarterback class is something else. I’ve tried to sort this mess out, and said that if you could combine the strengths of each of the top five prospects, you’d have one of the greatest quarterbacks in the NFL. That’s how unique each individual is as a prospect. But, when you’re looking at Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, and Lamar Jackson, you notice HUGE question marks as well.
Darnold has plenty of polish and throws a damn pretty ball. But, that pesky decision-making made him look downright bad last season. The kid had a lot of turnovers, too.
Rosen is probably the most prototypical pocket passer out of this group. He’s a competitor, but there are some concerns about his extensive injury history, and whether or not he’s a big time party boy….’cause….y’know…he had an inflatable hot tub in his dorm room.
As for Allen, it’s all about the arm talent. Arm talent, arm talent, arm talent….but he couldn’t put together a strong portfolio playing on a cushy Wyoming schedule. He’s considered a project whose ceiling could be ‘elite’ in the NFL.
I like Mayfield a lot. I know that he can be…well…kind of a douche…but personally, I like the fire on the field. He’s a pure play-maker. But, a lot of people are concerned about his size.
That leaves Jackson – who some say shouldn’t even play quarterback in the NFL. He’s the best pure athlete in the draft and looks like the most electric quarterback prospect to come out since Michael Vick.
So, every guy has major question marks. We know that the Browns botched the handoff at the trade deadline that would’ve sealed McCarron for them. And, they have the first pick in the draft this year. So, what do they do?
With McCarron, you kind of know what you’re going to get. He was a steadying presence in Andy Dalton’s absence back in 2015 when he had to close out the season. The Bengals were 2-2 over that stretch, but McCarron showed some flashes of potential. He was 76/115 (66% completion percentage) for 832 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions. That’s serviceable – those certainly aren’t eye-popping numbers. But, you couldn’t help but wonder how he’d be able to develop if a team were to actually commit to the guy and hand him the keys.
Unfortunately for McCarron, his stock never got any higher. He didn’t play at all in 2016, and completed just seven passes (on 14 attempts) in 2017. He hasn’t had much of a chance since 2015 and the market seems to have cooled off since then as a result.
Some will say that he hasn’t done enough to beat out Dalton for the starting job and that alone should be alarming. Personally, I don’t think Dalton’s that bad of a quarterback, and we don’t know that McCarron has ever truly had a fair shot at dethroning him. Marvin Lewis loves him some Andy Dalton.
I like McCarron a lot. I’m an Alabama fan, so I watched him for his entire career there, and there’s no better way to describe him than as a winner. He’s probably the best pure quarterback in Alabama history. Given the potential he showed in 2015 and how he compares to the 2018 draft class, I’d take him over any prospect in a heartbeat.
Stoney Keeley is the Editor in Chief of The SoBros Network. He is a strong supporter of Team GSD and #BeBetter. “Big Natural” covers the Tennessee Titans, Alabama Crimson Tide football, the WWE, and a whole wealth of nonsense. Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley