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Former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron is due all the respect of a two-time national championship quarterback and one of the most successful signal-callers in the history of a storied college program. But the chip McCarron has carried on his shoulder from the time he took over the starting job in 2011 has grown to be a little hard to look at. Consider these two McCarron quotes, the first coming two weeks prior to the draft, the second shortly after his selection:
April 28: "It's not like the GMs are calling these guys and telling them, 'Hey, we're going to draft this guy at this number so go ahead and put that out there."
May 10: ""The thing about this whole process is, somebody can come out with something, and somebody runs with it and it's just like wildfire spreading ... somebody can tap on bad information and it hurts you sometimes."
McCarron has chided the media plenty of times before, but in these two examples, he goes from suggesting that draft experts are short on knowledge and influence with NFL clubs, to suggesting that's precisely the reason he slipped in the draft. Sorry, but you can't have it both ways. It was convenient for McCarron to rip the media for not rating him higher before the draft, and convenient for him to later place some blame. Truth is, of all the reports that come out before the draft, some are rooted in legit info, and some may rely too heavily on smokescreens. But McCarron didn't lose a step in the draft because of some media report. He slipped because of what NFL clubs learned on their own, not what they read online or heard on the radio. NFL teams invest heavily in draft evaluations, and in turn, they trust the info they gather themselves.
None of that, of course, affects McCarron's ability to succeed in the NFL. He's got plenty of attributes, both physical and mental, that will eventually serve him well on Sundays. He's got the best throwing arm Alabama has produced for the NFL since Brodie Croyle, and if he stays healthy, he could do a lot more in pro ball than the injury-prone Croyle was able to do. But if McCarron wants to know why he was only a fifth-round pick, media reports and rumors make for a cheap scapegoat.