The following tweet from Albert Breer, who has been covering the NFL exclusively for the past 8 years, raised a few eyebrows both on Twitter and around the league:
I'll also say this about AJ McCarron — Enough people like him to where I think he has a shot to be the first quarterback taken.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 2, 2013
Adding McCarron, a senior, to likely high round choices Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota, Brett Hundley and Derek Carr, and even Johny Manziel, could make for an interesting Top 10 in the NFL draft. If the season ended today the draft order would be:
1. Houston Texans
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
3. St. Louis Rams
4. Atlanta Falcons
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6. Minnesota Vikings
7. Cleveland Browns
8. Oakland Raiders
9. Buffalo Bills
10. Pittsburgh Steelers
Of those 10 teams at least 4 of them, Texans, Jaguars, Vikings and Browns, are for sure looking for a Franchise QB. Three other teams, Rams, Bucs and Raiders, could be looking for a new QB depending on decisions with their current QB. Only the Falcons (Matt Ryan), Bills (EJ Manual, 1st round in 2013) and the Steelers (Ben Rothlisberger ) are set at the most important position on the field.
For the Browns, all three of the other teams for sure in need of a new QB are drafting ahead of them. If any of them finds McCarron to be worth of a high pick the Browns could find themselves lucking into their favorite QB.
McCarron has been loosely compared to Tom Brady due to his instincts, intelligence and even dating a super model. McCarron has guided the Alabama Crimson Tide’s pro style offense for the past 3 years showing the ability to manage a game and use his weapons in the passing game with great accuracy. McCarron has not been asked to carry his team offensively so his college tape is somewhat limited. Is he a product of a system or was he held back by the conservative, defensive minded Nick Saban. That will be a big question for NFL Scouts.
McCarron is naturally tied to the Browns due to GM Mike Lombardi’s close relationship with Bill Belichick and the simplified Brady comparisons. McCarron is unlikely to be the Browns top pick in the 2014 draft. The Browns have showed a desire for a mobile, big armed QB to run Norv Turner’s offense. Bridgewater, Mariota, Carr and even Manziel fir that mold better. Its possible, if they go in a different direction with their 2 first round picks, that McCarron is picked up early in the second by the Browns, ala Andy Dalton and the Bengals.
Much will depend on the Senior Bowl, the Combine and pre-draft workouts for McCarron. Is Breer accurate in his assessment? Does the talk increase pushing him up boards? Do the Browns benefit from this when another team selects McCarron over a more mobile, big armed QB for the Browns?