A.J. McCarron thought he would go in the late first or early second round of last week’s NFL draft, but ended up falling all the way to the fifth round before he was picked by the Cincinnati Bengals and experts think the free-fall may be due to his bad attitude.
Many pre-draft rankings listed the Alabama quarterback ahead of other quarterbacks like Tom Savage from Pittsburgh and Aaron Murray from Georgia, but instead McCarron fell to the bottom of the list.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that McCarron rubbed teams “the wrong way” in pre-draft interviews, which isn’t the first time his off-the-field behavior has been called into question. He was also criticized for skipping the Senior Bowl, which is an important game for evaluating talent.
A.J. McCarron also seemed to have a flippant attitude about the Senior Bowl, saying that teams didn’t need another game to judge his talent.
“Not playing in the Senior Bowl, my whole thought process was to get my body healthy,” he said. “I never had a break playing at Alabama and not only that I felt like, if I needed to play in an all-star game to tell what type of player I am then it’s ridiculous. To me, that’s my personal opinion. I played in the SEC for 40-something games; if you can’t see anything playing against SEC competition week in and week out, doing what I have done, then you’re not going to see it in one all-star game.”
Pro Football Talk writer Josh Alper said A.J. McCarron may have shot himself in the foot over his behavior, noting that McCarron needs something more than talent to make it in the NFL.
“If McCarron’s interviews and demeanor are keeping him from getting picked, he really did himself a disservice during the process because he’s a third-day pick based on talent,” Alper wrote. “His biggest selling points are the intangibles associated with leading a team to multiple titles but McCarron may have rendered them moot.”
Whatever the reasons for his NFL draft free-fall, A.J. McCarron now has his work cut out for him. He will be competing to win the backup job to Bengals starter Andy Dalton, who is locked into the starting job.