Will Richards (@WillRichards19) continues his preseason breakdown of the top quarterbacks. Suffice to say he is not a fan of AJ McCarron…
Prospect: AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama
Grade: 4.2 heading into the 2013 season
+ Seems to be well put together, maybe just a little bit on the light side, but that should be improved his senior season.
+ Good enough foot speed to be an effective scrambler at the pro level.
+ Strong guy, fought through tackles when he scrambled.
+ Has a good grasp of what his role is in the offense. He knows he’s a game manager.
+ He tries hard, and it’s obvious that he cares, but it’s only going to do him so much good.
+ Seems very on the ball with his pre-snap reads, rarely is surprised.
- Occasionally gets rattled when his guys aren’t getting open.
- Seems uncomfortable a lot of the time even in a clean pocket.
- Didn’t play in an offense that let him show off his mental strength. Handing the ball to Eddie Lacy doesn’t require much in the way of brains.
+ Shows good touch on some short and midrange passes.
- Is less than thrilling on the move and off platform, very little zip on the ball.
- Inconsistent ball placement really damns him as a prospect from the get go.
- Arm strength is only alright on his best day.
- Long delivery, puts the ball down low on his windup.
- Terrible pocket presence. Most QBs avoid sacks with their feet, McCarron runs into sacks.
+ Seems to catch people off guard with how fast he is.
+ Carries the ball correctly, high and tight.
+ Surprisingly tough runner, initiates contact at times.
+ Very safe with the ball, too risk adverse at times.
+ Does a good job creating a solid base with decent footwork on his throws.
- Long delivery that hampers the speed and accuracy of his release.
- Doesn’t step in and drive his throws with bodies around him, flings the ball from the shoulder more than he should.
Overall: AJ McCarron is not a good prospect based off of last year’s tape. He’s not draftable based on his performance last year. It was obvious at times that Nick Saban had almost no trust in his QB. He’d rather pound the ball with Lacy, or run a bubble screen than let McCarron make a big boy throw. It doesn’t make sense to draft a QB when he didn’t even have the confidence of his coach in college.
Maybe McCarron shows something this year, but as of today he looks like he could maybe one day develop into a below average backup. He’s not as good as Greg McElroy who came out of the same system and is buried behind Marc Sanchez. It just doesn’t make sense to even think about drafting a QB with such crappy arm talent. He doesn’t even make sense as a late round pick because there are developmental QBs with much higher upside that aren’t as polished. If he’s lucky, he gets picked late in the later part of the draft. If he’s lucky.
Alabama vs. Georgia
+ Beautiful slant throw for a big gain
- Can’t find any place to go with the ball and throws it away despite minimal pressure
- Pass tipped on a shallow crossing throw
- Ball stays in the air forever letting Rambo come over to break up a pass. Needs to put more zip on the ball
- Ugly pocket presence, holding onto the ball forever and then dropping it below his waist. No surprise it was a fumble.
- Terrible throw over his target’s head on a skinny post.
- Not making all of his reads, and got sacked because he’s not getting rid of the ball.
+/- Amari Cooper bailed him out of what should have been a pick. Threw it right to Baccari Rambo but Cooper won the jump ball.
- Redzone interception thrown right to a defender. Misread and went backshoulder rather than high fade.
+ Nice job hitting his checkdown in the face of the corner blitz.
- Throwing away a lot of passes, will need to be a lot less choosy in the NFL.
+/- Scramble for a gain of 9, only made his first read before taking off.
+ Good job recognizing nobody was open and that the defense was in man so that he could run for a big gain.
- Horrible pocket presence. Had a beautiful pocket and scrambled right into a defender for no reason.
- Says a lot about the staff’s faith in him that they go for a bubble screen on 3rd and 13. Says a lot about Amari Cooper that he converted it.
- Never good sign when the announcers are trying to determine whether his spiral was shitty or if his throw got tipped at the line.
- Ran right into another sack despite having a perfectly clean pocket. I can see why Barrett Jones hit this guy.
- Poor ball placement making Michael Williams dive for the ball.
+ Beautiful throw to an open Amari Cooper down the sideline for the game winning touchdown.
Overall: Ugly. Repeated and undraftable amounts of ugly. Ball placement was spotty, pocket presence was terrible, was a walking negative play too often bailed out entirely by the impressive talent around him. Amari Cooper is going to be very good.
Alabama vs. LSU
- Rattled with no pressure in his face leading him to checkdown to a covered TE
- Overthrows a wide open Amari Cooper by several yards on what should have been a touchdown
- Standing in the pocket for days, forcing DJ Fluker to hold. He needs to get rid of the ball.
+ Nice job using play action to get the first down on a dump off.
+ Excellent slant throw to pick up a first down
+ Good throw on a comeback for what should have been a first down were it not for a drop.
- Poor throw on a sideline comeback route
- No internal clock in his head at all. Just sitting back there pump faking for too long.
+ Good throw rolling to the sideline for a completion
+ Smart scramble for a TD, isn’t afraid to tuck and run when he can get yards.
- Got his throw swatted back in his face at the line of scrimmage, needs to move his feet to find passing lanes
- Threw the ball completely behind the target on a slant route.
- Got his throw swatted again. He’s not showing any knowledge of launch points at all, and isn’t adjusting.
- Threw an uncatchable ball over the head of his target on a deep crosser. Lucky it wasn’t picked off.
- Threw a WR screen with the Corners on the line.
+ Nice throw in between LBs for a first down.
- Ball placement is erratic. Making WRs work really hard to secure the ball.
Overall: This was another performance that was really hard to watch. It’s obvious just how great everybody else on the field was in this contest, with the exception of McCarron, who looked out of his league. With the exception of his scramble for a touchdown, he didn’t do a single noteworthy positive thing this entire game.
LSU’s DBs are very good, but there were times he was just missing on his reads. He’s spoiled because of the great offensive line in front of him. McCarron didn’t do anything to help them out at all, often standing flat footed in the pocket as the rush got to him after four or five seconds. His ball placement was all over the place and he was fortunate that he didn’t throw a pick, because there were several throws that were close.