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NFL Draft 2014: AJ McCarron scouting notes

My preseason notes on Alabama QB AJ McCarron, a preseason darling to some due to an impressive resume.

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Alabama has had one of the more successful CFB runs in recent memory the past few years, and one of their prime figures behind their success is QB AJ McCarron, at least in the publics eye. McCarron has played mistake free and has been efficient in executing ‘Bama's game plan week to week and will enter the 2014 draft with one of the best college resumes in some time, but how much does all of this really translate? I watched 5 of his 2012 games (Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Western Kentucky, Mississippi State, Tennessee) and here is what I came away with.


Height: 6'4"- Ideal height.

Weight: 214 lbs- Frame looks a bit thin, could definitely add to it.


  • Average-Below average in terms of athleticism.

  • When throwing on the run can resort to running, but only if it is a wide open lane. Not a running threat, but smartly knows how to pick up small yardage.

  • Not mobile enough to evade defenders in pocket if he does not sense pressure fast enough.

Pocket Presence

  • Does a good job of dipping his shoulder to move up in the pocket and moving laterally to avoid pressure.

  • Inconsistent in predicting pressure, can sometimes bail out of pocket too soon.

  • Does not sense backside pressure very well.

  • Does not try to be too risky amid pressure, smartly throws ball away when pushed out of pocket and he can't hit his read.

  • Looks awkward when scrambling out of pocket, like he does not know exactly where to go. Led to a few sacks on his part.


  • Clean footwork in pocket, amid pressure.

  • Good throwing motion with a high release, though he could stand to speed it up a bit.

  • Throws off his back foot amid interior pressure. Velocity/placement take a big hit.

  • Accuracy is below average when he is forced to move in pocket, causing him to be erratic with checkdowns.

  • Is at his best when rolling to his right on Play Action, is able to add more velocity to the ball.

  • Does not change throwing angles in tight spaces.

  • Does not reset himself to throw very consistently when on the run.

Arm Strength

  • Capable of some downfield throws, but too many rainbows and not enough lazers. Forces WR to stop in his stride and comeback for the ball often, severely limiting YAC.

  • Velocity dies after 15 yards, does not fit ball into tight windows very often.

  • A lot of out routes in the 15-20 yd range were jumped by DB's.

  • Velocity from LOS-15 is good enough.

  • Velocity really suffers in the 20 yd range over the middle of the field.


Mental Makeup

Overall I am not a big fan of McCarrons 2012 tape, and I think he looked the part of a "Game Manager" who is asked to attempt to keep D's honest from the running game and to make sure the ball was not turned over.

I realize McCarron is impressive in the stats and wins category, but I can not stress this enough when I say these are completely irrelevant when projecting his skills to the NFL. What he lacks in velocity and attacking mentality he does make up in touch and smarts, but how much that is valued is the question. I could see him having success in a scheme like the Houston Texans, a run 1st Offense that utilizes a lot of Play Action due to his high success rate rolling to his right on Play Actions. But as with all prospects, I have no final opinion on AJ yet as he has his entire SR season to play out, and this can not be reiterated enough. He can raise his stock in my eyes by proving to be capable of carrying an offense and not vice versa, plus showing more willingness to attack D's.

(Big thanks to @DraftBreakdown for making this post possible and for all the other prospect videos the post daily)

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