TV football analyst Kurt Warner sees Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron as being one of the most talented quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL draft. Warner doesn’t see McCarron as having the same physical tools compared to other quarterbacks in the draft such as Blake Bortles in terms of arm strength and size, but he likes his understanding of the game, the way he anticipates receivers, the touch he puts on his passes, and his accuracy.
McCarron isn’t mentioned among the top three quarterbacks in the draft – Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater – but Warner likes his skills nonetheless and he feels he can be a success in the NFL.
“He understands the game,” Warner said about McCarron to the NFL Network. “He can anticipate [the receivers routes] better than anyone in this draft from what I’ve seen. He’s probably thrown half as many passes as Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles, but he knows how to control a game…When you watched him at the combine, he could make the throws. He has a bigger arm than what you would have expected. I think he throws a very catch-able ball. I really like his understanding of the game.”
McCarron’s throwing accuracy is definitely top notch. He completed 67.3 percent of his throws in 2013 and 67.2 percent in 2012, so he’s definitely consistent and not a one-year wonder like some quarterbacks that come out after one good season. McCarron doesn’t throw a lot of interceptions, and he’s very good at putting the ball just out of the reach of the defender’s hands.
What you have to like about McCarron is his ability to lob passes over the heads of the defenders. McCarron doesn’t have a huge arm like Bortles or Zach Mettenberger, but he throws with more than enough arm strength to get the ball to any part of the field. He kind of reminds me a lot of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana in terms of arm strength, accuracy and intelligence. He’s a very smart quarterback, and he’s not someone that goes to pieces mentally when he’s in a high takes games like Colin Kaepernick of the Niners. McCarron played well in the Sugar Bowl last January in Alabama’s 45-31 loss to Oklahoma. He competed 19 of 30 passes for 387 yards. In the BCS National Championship game against Notre Dam in 2013, McCarron also played well in completing 20 of 28 passes for 264 yards.