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College Football

A.J. McCarron declares himself best QB in draft, Nick Saban warns NFL teams


Despite the tremendous amount of success he enjoyed quarterbacking the Alabama Crimson Tide, A.J. McCarron’s name routinely has been passed over when the top quarterbacks in the upcoming NFL Draft are discussed. Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and even possibly Derek Carr are all expected to be top picks, or at least will be long gone before McCarron’s name is called.

Most draft experts don’t even have McCarron being selected in the first round, perhaps not even the second round, even though he led Alabama to two national titles while running relatively roughshod over the toughest college football conference in all the land, the SEC.

Obviously, the road to the NFL is paved with the miserable careers of college quarterbacks who dominated the college game, so the so-called experts may be on to something with McCarron.

But to ask him, McCarron believes he belongs among the names mentioned above. In fact, in can be said that confidence is not an issue with McCarron, because after his pro day on Wednesday, he argued that he’s the best quarterback prospect in the draft.

“Why not? The rest of those guys feel like they’re the best,” McCarron said, according to an report. “It’s a mindset you have to carry in yourself. I feel like my play speaks for itself over the three years I started in the SEC. I definitely do.”

McCarron has another big knocker that holds some sway in his corner when it comes to his assertion that his game will translate well to the NFL. Nick Saban believes the same thing, even arguing NFL teams will rue the day they passed on his former quarterback.

“I think anybody that doesn’t take A.J. in one of those earlier rounds is going to make a huge mistake, because I think he’s going to be a very, very good player,” Saban told ESPN’s Michele Steele (via PFT). “First of all, he has all the athletic talent to make all the throws that he needs to make at the next level. . . . Guys who can make quick decisions, process the information and throw the ball accurately are the guys that usually end up being pretty good NFL quarterbacks.”

Will the mock drafts be correct? Will McCarron fall into the second or maybe even the third round? As is the case with every year and every draft, no one knows until the names are announced. Similarly, as far as McCarron is concerned, as is the case with every other NFL prospect and the rabid speculation and the overdone conjecture about what kind of player they will turn out to be, we’ll have to wait until he puts on the pads, straps on the helmet  and shows what he can do. Hardly an encouraging observation for the folks who have to pull the trigger and decide, but it is the truth nevertheless.