30 for 29: This is the third in a daily series of looks at 30 prospects the Patriots may consider selecting with the 29th overall pick at the 2014 NFL Draft.
A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
6-foot-3, 220 pounds. DOB: 9/13/90
2013: 226 completions, 336 attempts (67.6), 28 TD, 7 INT
2012: 211-314, 67.2, 30-3
2011: 319-328, 66.8, 16-5
2010: 30-48, 62.5, 3-0
A three-year starter, he only lost four games during his stretch as the man at the controls of the Crimson Tide and won two national championships. Grew up in Mobile, Alabama. Engaged to Katherine Webb, with whom he is set to do a reality show. Finished second in the 2012 Heisman Trophy race.
TO THE GOOD
Has played and succeeded at the highest level of college football. Understands the importance of taking care of the ball and being accurate. Has good size and is a mature and polished leader.
TO THE BAD
Alabama’s position as the pre-eminent team in college football has worked against McCarron, as the great defensive units and running game prowess puts a “Yeah, but . . . ” next to all McCarron’s accomplishments. Doesn’t have an overwhelmingly strong arm. His footwork and fundamentals aren’t as polished as they could be. Question of whether he’s a player who can carry an average or below-average team, as opposed to being a good player on a great team, will dog him
There’s a lot to like from a Patriots perspective. He could probably come in and back up Tom Brady and run the Patriots offense at the level Ryan Mallett does in fairly short order. Not a knock on Mallett, it’s simply that McCarron would be a quick study and know where his reads and checkdowns are and hit them fast. Could McCarron be a player who could succeed Brady or even push Brady (not that Brady really needs that)? Probably not. And that’s why, if the Patriots are serious about looking at a player to compete with Brady, they wouldn’t take McCarron. But if they’re looking for a backup in rounds three or four, they might.