Jan 2, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron (10) walks off the field following a loss to the Oklahoma Sooners in a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Oklahoma defeated Alabama 45-31. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron could be an option at quarterback for the Vikings should they miss out on all four guys (Bridgewater, Carr, Bortles and Manziel) currently projected to be drafted in the top 10. But is McCarron really a viable answer at the position that got Leslie Frazier fired?
McCarron is perceived as a fantastic leader and solid quarterbacking mind but there are questions about his ability to make certain throws. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com points out the big problem with McCarron’s mechanics and how it relates to his passing power. This came up during Thursday night’s Sugar Bowl game between Alabama and Oklahoma (which McCarron and Alabama lost, partly thanks to McCarron’s three turnovers). Jeremiah said:
I don’t blame McCarron for the third turnover, but the first two were definitely his fault. He has a mechanical flaw that continually shows up on tape and it was an issue in Thursday night’s game. He rarely digs his cleats into the ground and drives off of his back foot. He throws entirely with his upper body and the ball loses life on drive throws. There is a difference between deep ball throws and drive throws. He is a very good deep ball thrower (he lofted a beautiful 67-yard touchdown at the start of the second quarter), but he struggles to generate the necessary RPMs to fit balls in tight windows on drive throws.
This throwing issue is a big reason why McCarron is currently projected as no better than a second round selection. Jeremiah sees him as a borderline player, saying “I do believe McCarron has the potential to be a functional starting quarterback in the right system/situation, but he really needs to work on his lower-body mechanics.”
The Vikes will of course be installing a new offensive system next year with a new head coach, so we can’t even predict what kind of QB they will be interested in drafting. McCarron however looks like a guy who might not be able to come in and start right away, and that would be a problem for Minnesota especially if they are unable to re-sign Matt Cassel or pick up another viable one-year starter.
Verdict based on evidence presented thus far: AJ McCarron is one to avoid for Minnesota, unless they want another project QB like Christian Ponder who will drive us nuts for years while he “develops.”