Quarterback A.J. McCarron came into the NFL Scouting Combine with a chip on his shoulder and feeling undervalued. Despite winning two national titles in his three years as a starter at Alabama, some talent evaluators believed he wasn’t up-to-par with other top quarterbacks like Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater.
“I feel like I’ve been disrespected my whole college career because I won. That’s usually the knock on me is the deep ball and that we won, won behind NFL talent,” McCarron said.
He was able to quiet down those critics just a bit Sunday in a solid throwing session in front of NFL scouts, coaches and executives.
“He looked today like he was just hanging out in the backyard and throwing it,” said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock after Sunday’s workout. “It was easy. He didn’t seem like he felt any pressure. The ball comes out nicely. I don’t think he’s got a huge arm but he’s got a good arm, and he’s accurate.”
McCaron said he’s been working to correct his throwing mechanics, believing that will improve the perception of his arm strength.
“I think the biggest thing for me was release point. All the experts try to knock me on my deep ball, saying my arm’s not strong. My arm is strong enough. I can throw the ball 65 yards, but I had a bad habit of releasing the ball out wide, not staying vertical on it.”
McCarron continued, “If you go back and watch my film, you can see the film doesn’t lie on it. I think the times I had to throw the ball deep and I stayed vertical [with] the release on it, the ball went far. That was the biggest thing for me — finishing my throws on the deep ball.”
He’s relished the opportunity to correct these fundamental issues, issues that take time to correct and couldn’t necessarily be done while in college.
“I’ve never had an official break and being able to focus on myself really, even in the summer. We got 15 days off in May, [and then] we were right back. It feels good to be able to focus on myself and have some selfish time before the team part gets back involved into it.”
With the exception of a slow 4.94 40-yard dash, he seemed pleased with the effort, and even poked fun at himself.
Had a slow 40 but I will run again at pro day. Good thing I wont be drafted to run the option lol! But good day throwing! Blessed 2 B here!!
— AJ McCarron (@10AJMcCarron) February 23, 2014