Scouts: McCarron needs to work on deep ball
by Marq Burnett
mburnett@annistonstar.com
Jan 20, 2014 | 1860 views |  0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alabama's AJ McCarron was a four-star prospect coming out of high school. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
Alabama's AJ McCarron was a four-star prospect coming out of high school. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
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MOBILE — Former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron’s decision to decline an invitation to the Senior Bowl has been a topic of much discussion.

On one hand, there’s the crowd that believes attending the all-star game could have helped him as it allows players to compete against other top competition. Then there’s the notion McCarron should let his three years of game film speak for itself.

The statement McCarron released about his decision to miss the game supports the latter as he said he wanted to focus solely on the NFL Scouting Combine, which is Feb. 19-24 in Indianapolis.

In conversations with scouts in Mobile for Senior Bowl workouts, one scout said McCarron missed a valuable opportunity to participate in the informal and formal interview process which allows players and team official to get to know one another.

Some of the NFL scouts at this week’s Senior Bowl workouts were willing to discuss individual players, but didn’t want their names used because they are not authorized to speak for their organizations.

On Monday, McCarron’s Alabama teammate Kevin Norwood revealed McCarron battled shoulder soreness before the Tide’s appearance in the Sugar Bowl, but that McCarron won’t speak about it publicly.

Still, McCarron is listed as the fourth-best quarterback prospect and the 43rd overall prospect on ESPN.com with analyst Todd McShay giving him an early third-round grade. The three listed ahead of him are all underclassmen.

In conversations with scouts in Mobile for Senior Bowl workouts, one scout said McCarron needs to work on his lower-body mechanics and deep-ball accuracy. McCarron often lobs balls up for grabs when throwing down the field, one scout said.

Some scouts felt McCarron would be a quality starting NFL quarterback, while others view him a more of a backup.

Several pointed to Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ situation as one that would benefit McCarron. Rodgers had the benefit of learning behind Hall-of-Fame quarterback Brett Favre for three years while he was able to develop.

In six years as a starter, Rodgers has made the Pro Bowl three times.

Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage said he thinks McCarron’s has the “potential to go on and have a nice pro career,” but a lot of the things that determine how successful he’ll be will be out his control.

“With the quarterback position, so much of it depends on circumstances like the fit, the environment, the offensive systems, who’s coaching you, those sorts of things,” Savage said.

“There’s a lot of factors involved, maybe more-so with the quarterback spot than with any other position.”
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