AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama

Bengals, Round 5. I expected him to go in Round 2, and thought he had third-round skills, but he went a lot later than I, and probably he, expected. On the Bengals, he’ll make a solid backup to Andy Dalton and could develop into a solid backup for years to come. Probably wouldn’t even hurt many teams starting for them.

All-Star Games: None. Was invited to the Senior Bowl, but declined.

Positives: Good height and above-average bulk for the position. Above-average hand size. Has experience running a pro-style offense. Throws with adequate arm strength and velocity. Okay velocity. Throws with nice touch and accuracy on intermediate throws and shows above-average anticipation on timing routes, hitting receivers as they come out of their breaks. Above-average deep accuracy. Shows some patience, and goes through his progressions around half the time. As a result, he spreads the ball around fairly well. Is effective throwing back-shoulder passes. Outside of the pocket, he shows good accuracy and patience, and knows when to just throw ball away. Tough – played with dislocated ribs for second half of 2012. Was also the holder on field goals.

Negatives: Below-average track speed, explosiveness, change of direction ability, and lateral quickness. Indecisive and holds the ball too long at times – even when a checkdown is obviously available. Release point varies from three-quarter to sidearm at times. Eyeballs receivers fairly often. Doesn’t consistently read deep safety on long passes, resulting in long interceptions. His field of vision narrows considerably when he’s on the run, and he won’t see open receivers. Even in the pocket, he will miss better reads over the middle. Looks uncomfortable moving around in pocket. He doesn’t sense outside rushers very well and needs to learn when to step up in the pocket under outside pressure. Below-average ball security on the run, and runs with the ball away from his body in one hand. There are some questions about his dedication since he has decided to forego both the Senior Bowl and potentially even the Combine.

Projection: He’s not draftable in dynasty rookie leagues, but feel free to in super-deep leagues. Probably won’t ever be a fantasy factor.

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