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Nick Saban: Passing on A.J. McCarron would be a huge mistake

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Alabama’s A.J. McCarron isn’t often mentioned as one of the top quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL draft, but Nick Saban thinks he should be.

Saban, who won two national championships with McCarron as his quarterback, told Michele Steele on ESPN that the NFL teams that pass on McCarron will live to regret it.

“I think anybody that doesn’t take A.J. in one of those earlier rounds is going to make a huge mistake, because I think he’s going to be a very, very good player,” Saban said. “First of all, he has all the athletic talent to make all the throws that he needs to make at the next level. . . . Guys who can make quick decisions, process the information and throw the ball accurately are the guys that usually end up being pretty good NFL quarterbacks.”

Few people would put McCarron ahead of Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles, but McCarron said at Alabama’s Pro Day that he views himself as the best quarterback in the draft. Saban seems to agree.

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97 Responses to “Nick Saban: Passing on A.J. McCarron would be a huge mistake”
  1. cardsfann1 says: Mar 14, 2014 7:30 AM

    Passing on Brees was to Nick!!!

  2. 6thsense10 says: Mar 14, 2014 7:33 AM

    Urban Myers said the same thing about Tebow. Do these coaches think with millions on the line scouts are not doing their homework?

  3. clowntown1 says: Mar 14, 2014 7:33 AM

    Because Nick Saban is the kind of guy you can really trust to tell you the truth….just ask the Dolphins.

  4. PeterKingLovesCoqAVin says: Mar 14, 2014 7:33 AM

    Nick Saban isn’t allowed to talk about the next level.

  5. bubbybrister/shovelpass says: Mar 14, 2014 7:35 AM

    Anyone remember when Charlie Weis once said this about Brady Quinn…?

  6. skins4me says: Mar 14, 2014 7:35 AM

    I am not a BAMA fan or a SEC fan, be I think Saban is right money. All this guy dose is win games. I would love to see him in a Redskins uniform!!

  7. fievel03 says: Mar 14, 2014 7:38 AM

    Is that a threat?

  8. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Mar 14, 2014 7:41 AM

    The huge mistake is listening to the self-serving pimp jobs college coaches — least of all one who was proved to be a failure, liar and quitter on games played on Sundays.

  9. deathonwings410 says: Mar 14, 2014 7:42 AM

    He’s an NFL backup, at best. Shut up, Nick!

  10. qdog112 says: Mar 14, 2014 7:43 AM

    I would be tempted to take McCarron before Bortles and Johnny Wildcat.

  11. pw1265 says: Mar 14, 2014 7:53 AM

    Nick Saban?? who quit the NFL??? and you want to take HIS word on a NFL player??? lmao!!!

  12. raymondtx says: Mar 14, 2014 7:53 AM

    Not as big of a mistake as you were in the nfl, nick.

    Signed HTown

  13. guvsta says: Mar 14, 2014 7:55 AM

    Not the greatest judge of NFL talent. I still shed a tear every time I watch Drew Brees. Oh well …

  14. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Mar 14, 2014 7:59 AM

    The huge mistake is listening to the self-serving pimp jobs college coaches — least of all one who was proved to be a failure, liar and quitter on games played on Sundays.

  15. chargrz says: Mar 14, 2014 8:00 AM

    Thnx coach!

  16. pslbucfan says: Mar 14, 2014 8:01 AM

    Brady Quinn: Now I’m done.

  17. thestrategyexpert says: Mar 14, 2014 8:06 AM

    The Lions could use somebody to groom for the after-Stafford era. I’m interested.

  18. tv426 says: Mar 14, 2014 8:07 AM

    Yeah, Saban is such a QB guru. I mean his QBs throw as many as 10 times a game!

  19. pastabelly says: Mar 14, 2014 8:07 AM

    I have no problem with any college coach saying this about his quarterback. He’s doing his freaking job.

  20. hockeyissweet says: Mar 14, 2014 8:07 AM

    jamarcus russell, tim couch, akili smith and ryan leaf seemed like good quaterbacks once too.

  21. bennyb82 says: Mar 14, 2014 8:14 AM

    Everyone else believes passing with AJ would be the huge mistake…

  22. fwippel says: Mar 14, 2014 8:14 AM

    I’m sorry, but there are at least four other SEC QBs who I’d rate ahead of McCarron.

    Manziel, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger, Georgia’s Aaron Murray, and South Carolina’s Connor Shaw all look like better prospects than McCarron.

    McCarron was surrounded by superstars for his entire college career. Not saying he won’t be a decent pro, but I just don’t see him doing as well as the others at the next level. The other four QBs I listed all elevated their college teams and made them better. McCarron didn’t need to do that because he was constantly surrounded by the best collection of talent in college football.

    I just don’t see McCarron doing as well at the next level when he’s not surrounded by elite talent.

  23. jm91rs says: Mar 14, 2014 8:15 AM

    I’d take the guy in the 3rd-4th round if I were the Bengals. Someone good enough to put pressure on Dalton, but not such a high pick that you can’t afford to miss on it.

  24. abrellbama says: Mar 14, 2014 8:15 AM

    These are about the kind of comments I expect from you guys. AJ is a very good QB. He has good arm strength, can get around players if necessary, and make good decisions. He will be a good QB at the next level.

  25. Buick McKaine says: Mar 14, 2014 8:18 AM

    He did look pretty good at the Combine.

  26. kosarkid says: Mar 14, 2014 8:19 AM

    If your college coach has to talk you up before the draft, you might not be that good.

  27. bayoovoodoo22 says: Mar 14, 2014 8:19 AM

    Nick Saban is an idiot and needs to go back in his hole

  28. allhailkingflacco says: Mar 14, 2014 8:21 AM

    Saban: “Look A.J., just lie to them all and if things don’t work out, so what. You can come back down and I’ll set you up with a sweet assistant coaching job.”

    McCarron: “Kind of like the whole Dolphins deal ?”

    Saban: “You got it. Now go lie your azz off”

  29. howiefeltersnatch says: Mar 14, 2014 8:21 AM

    Anyone remember when Nick Saban once said this about Trent Richardson…?

  30. meatcarroll says: Mar 14, 2014 8:21 AM

    Well of course he’s gonna say that. Why would he throw his loyal quarterback of several seasons under the bus?

  31. pftsheriff says: Mar 14, 2014 8:22 AM

    I would not trust anything that comes out of this guys mouth. A.J. Might be worth a third rounder but saban s judge on nfl talent is simply not there, just look at when he drafted. Nick keep it shut about what u think about the nfl, it’s a big boys league.

  32. abrellbama says: Mar 14, 2014 8:25 AM

    AJ McCarron had 686/1,026 for 9,019 passing yards with an avg of 66.9% completion ratio with a career of 77 TD’s and 15 ints in his college career. That is well above average. That is actually quite good for starting 3 years. Yes, he had to some weapons to throw to but isn’t that what makes you good in the NFL, all those weapons?

  33. dumbpollack says: Mar 14, 2014 8:25 AM

    Yea this guy is a great recruiter and coach but I wish he would shut the hell up. AJ wasn’t a difference maker in college. Why would anyone think he’ll be anything more than a clipboard holder in the NFL?

  34. 202folife says: Mar 14, 2014 8:26 AM

    Says the guy to passed on Brees for Culpepper.

  35. beattention says: Mar 14, 2014 8:31 AM

    The so called experts know little about talent they just repeat what other nitwits say.

  36. culturecesspool says: Mar 14, 2014 8:33 AM

    That Ryan leaf is a cant miss talent!

  37. sdelmonte says: Mar 14, 2014 8:36 AM

    Interesting how often QBs who win BCS titles (and what preceded that) and QBs who win Heismans don’t make it in the pros. And a little sad, to hit the heights in college and never make it to the next level.

  38. dudermcrbohan says: Mar 14, 2014 8:40 AM

    Yea Saban certainly would know what it takes to succeed in the NFL….

  39. airforcetwo says: Mar 14, 2014 8:40 AM

    Says the guy with the second worst track record in the NFL – Petrino is only slightly less reliable.

  40. mheffner001 says: Mar 14, 2014 8:40 AM

    Probably said that about Trent Richardson. Ask Cleveland how that worked out . Just saying

  41. 6ball says: Mar 14, 2014 8:42 AM


    McCarron may be one of those QBs that would benefit from time on the sideline to develop his game. Both Tom Brady and Aaron Rogers followed this path.



  42. ravenswhat says: Mar 14, 2014 8:44 AM

    AJ is the next Tom Brady. Same height, same smarts, big arm and accurate. I been saying this for months now. Guys like Johnny football and teddy are an absurd risk.

  43. thelastwordyaheard says: Mar 14, 2014 8:45 AM

    NFL scouting is just another form of sports gambling.. the guys who are the best guessers get to keep their jobs

  44. itsfootballbaby says: Mar 14, 2014 8:49 AM

    What would you expect him to say? He can’t really throw his two time NCAA champ QB under the bus and expect to recruit any decent QBs.

  45. mykpfsu says: Mar 14, 2014 8:49 AM

    Katherine Webb disagrees

  46. indywilson40 says: Mar 14, 2014 8:54 AM

    Same thing said by Urban Meyer about Tim Tebow, June Jones about Colt Brennan, Mike Leach about Graham Harrell. Never listen to a college coach when evaluating their own players.

  47. ashure71 says: Mar 14, 2014 8:59 AM

    Really Nick!!?? I have the UTMOST respect for you as a college coach; HOWEVA, please just shut 100% the hell up about anything dealing with the NFL.

    That is all.

  48. dccowboy says: Mar 14, 2014 8:59 AM

    That would be a college coach speaking to potential recruits thru ‘pimping’ his current QB to t he pros.

    Heck, he may even mean it, but this is Saban pitching to his recruits that, if they come to Alabama, he’ll push them to NFL teams and maybe get them drafted higher (and make more money) than they otherwise would be).

  49. musicman495 says: Mar 14, 2014 9:02 AM

    Saban is all about Saban. All he wants is to be able to say to recruits, “Hey, our program made A.J. McCarron a first round draft pick.” He said the same things about Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, and I have not noticed either one tearing up the NFL.

  50. jdbaker01 says: Mar 14, 2014 9:03 AM

    I wonder if he’d pass on Drew Brees for McCarron?

  51. showtime1911 says: Mar 14, 2014 9:05 AM

    I remember you passed on him when you allowed your running back to make plays on 4th down and at the end of the game versus your qb in the auburn game.

  52. seatownballers says: Mar 14, 2014 9:10 AM

    Jacksonville drafts mack in the first, mccarron in the second

  53. stevincinci says: Mar 14, 2014 9:11 AM

    Be a good mid round pick. I hope the Bengals do it with one of their compensation picks in the 3rd or 4th round.

  54. cdngatorfan says: Mar 14, 2014 9:17 AM

    Stick to college Nicky, your talent evaluation in the NFL wasn’t exactly a stellar performance.

    step away from the draft board before someone gets hurt.

  55. fleaman1381 says: Mar 14, 2014 9:32 AM

    I don’t agree with Saban at all. But I do think McCarron can succeed in the NFL. He’s not bad. Just like 99.9% of the QBs that come into the league it’s just going to depend on the situation he gets drafted into.

  56. babyfarkmcgeezax says: Mar 14, 2014 9:39 AM

    Don’t worry Nick, some pathetic AFC team will draft McCarron. After all, the AFC is about the quality of NCAA Division III. The Vikings will draft a real quarterback to complement the most talented roster in the NFL, which nobody questions the Vikings have, and will easily win the next 10 Super Bowls, at least. SKOL

  57. lukedunphysscienceproject says: Mar 14, 2014 9:56 AM

    McCarron is the kind of guy who you seen sign a one-year deal with someone 12 years from now and say to yourself “wow- AJ McCarron is still in the NFL?”.

    He’s good at most things, great at nothing, smart, and reliable with the football. He’s a game manager. Guys like that get jobs. Not starting jobs, but jobs.

    Charlie Whitehurst is about to suit up for his NINTH NFL season. You’re telling me AJ McCarron won’t be in the league for 10-12 years?

  58. itsnotforme says: Mar 14, 2014 10:14 AM

    Let’s get the political view on this subject and ask Nancy Pelosi. Oh, and let’s see if they should change their team name while we got her interest too.

  59. thatstinks says: Mar 14, 2014 10:15 AM

    Not impressed with Nick Sabans NFL knowledge . Recruiting and drafting are to different animals .

  60. woahmezio says: Mar 14, 2014 10:15 AM

    I’d like to see the Titans take him in the 2nd round.

  61. nyfcat says: Mar 14, 2014 10:26 AM

    Nick Saban also said people would regret passing on RB Mark Ingram.

  62. falstaffsmind says: Mar 14, 2014 10:27 AM

    Saban does make one good point… when drafting a QB, accuracy, an NFL capable arm and decision making should trump athleticism and raw arm strength. The problem is that the knock on McCarron is he’s not real accurate, has an average NFL arm and his decision making at times wasn’t that great.

    Don’t be shocked if Jimmy Garoppolo from Eastern Illinios and Derick Carr from Fresno St go ahead of McCarron.

  63. gritzblitz66 says: Mar 14, 2014 10:27 AM

    You Miami fans do know it was the Dolphins front office and training staff thar passed on Brees and not Saban, right? The Dolphins doctors told the front office that they were worried about his shoulder not healing so they went with Culpepper. Saban was still a horrible NFL coach though.

  64. snakesmileyface says: Mar 14, 2014 10:28 AM

    I’d invite anyone that’s taking Saban seriously here to look up his pre-draft comments about Rolando McClain. That should tell you all you need to know.

  65. mackstrong2013 says: Mar 14, 2014 10:37 AM

    The guys ceiling is almost level with his floor. Solid back up, could maybe Trent Dilfer his way through life with the right fit.

  66. rc33 says: Mar 14, 2014 10:43 AM

    Gee Nick, I though processing information too quickly…or doing anything too quickly in college football…lead to unnecessary injuries?

  67. lukedunphysscienceproject says: Mar 14, 2014 10:44 AM

    Listen, I have no idea how good AJ McCarron will be in the NFL. But I do get a little tired of the “surrounded by great players” argument. Aren’t all players on great teams surrounded by other great players? Does that make them all bad NFL prospects?

    I mean, a RB who gets alot of yards on a great team obviously had a great OL.

    A DE who got alot of sacks on a great team obviously had alot of other great players on his defense taking attention and pressure off of him.

    A DB who gets of alot of picks on a great team obviously benefited from the fact that the QB couldn’t avoid throwing to his side because of other great DBs on his team.

    I mean, where does it end? Should teams only draft players who managed to put up gaudy stats on terrible teams?

  68. jagtiger says: Mar 14, 2014 10:44 AM

    I would love to have him in the 2nd or 3rd round!

  69. gmfw7 says: Mar 14, 2014 10:53 AM

    i don’t think mccarron is going to be a stud, but i don’t see why he can’t be successful in the nfl. he’s got the size and a strong arm, played in a pro style offense, and played against better defensive talent for the last 4 years than any other QB not name manziel. and for all you people bashing saban, just stop. the guy is one of the best college coaches of all time, and failed in the nfl with a loser team. no one would have had a good run with that dolphins team, and he didn’t pass on brees because he can’t recognise talent. he passed because everyone in the nfl, besides the saints, were worried about his arm after the surgery and i’m sure the reports from miami’s medical staff had more to do with signing cullpepper than saban being incompetent. by the way, i hate alabama, but i always find it amusing how idiots hate on people who do nothing but dominate at their profession

  70. 1rockyracoon says: Mar 14, 2014 11:04 AM

    I’d rather have my team draft him in the 3rd round rather than taking Manziel in the first round.

  71. bigfuzzy says: Mar 14, 2014 11:06 AM

    I’d take a 5th round flyer on him. Have him sit behind Cutler for 3 years.

  72. randomcommenter says: Mar 14, 2014 11:08 AM

    McCarron is great so long as he’s untouched behind a great OL, but under pressure he falls apart.

    He got pressured by Oklahoma and looked terrible. He was scared like Blaine Gabbert.

  73. whatjusthapped says: Mar 14, 2014 11:11 AM

    He may be or may not be but what is rich is that Saban, whose only interest is to promote his Alabama football program to prospective recruits, is now some sort of expert on the NFL readiness of a QB. This is the same guy that passed on Drew Brees when it was his own decision to make at the NFL level.

    I wouldn’t buy a used car from this jackwagon.

  74. trspat says: Mar 14, 2014 11:22 AM

    Well, he passed on Brees in favor of Culpepper but more importantly Lsu won titles the year before Jaaaamarcus and the year after! Saban refused to sit that buffoon and if he would have lsu would have at least two more titles! Oh one more point…Russell had some amazing comebacks with the best team in CFB ! Know why? Cause he had superior teams constantly trailing inferior teams. They came back despite that fool! Shut up Saban..please! You don’t pass on Brees and you never leave Miami! Alabama would have been average these last years. I will give him that. But qb discussion..just do the opposite of what Nick says 🙂

  75. irishdodger says: Mar 14, 2014 11:33 AM

    I think he’ll be better than Greg McElroy has been. B/c of all that talent around him, it’s hard to judge how he’d do at the next level. I think fans & media got burned after Matt Leinart had a similar career (w/ more impressive passing stats) and then busted in the NFL.

    The “All he is does is win” mantra doesn’t apply to the NFL. See the following: Tebow, Jason White, Matt Leinart, Danny Wuerfel, Eric Crouch, Tommy Frazier, Greg McElroy, etc.

  76. Chris Henry's Wild Ride says: Mar 14, 2014 11:39 AM

    Colt McCoy “just won games” too.

  77. kitnamania13 says: Mar 14, 2014 11:47 AM

    Passing with AJ McCarron would be a huge mistake.

  78. sayingthetruthperiod says: Mar 14, 2014 11:48 AM

    arm strength is the only question mark

  79. unclebluck says: Mar 14, 2014 11:54 AM

    Same e deal as Sanchez…best OL in college/defenses could not get to him. Then he hits the pro’s where the defense CAN get to him…and we all know were that ends up….

  80. mogogo1 says: Mar 14, 2014 12:03 PM

    A bigger mistake than not letting McCarron throw to try and get them into closer field goal range at the end of the Auburn game?

    Seems like if Nick was that high on the kid, he might have allowed him to actually throw in that situation.

  81. vipod4ever says: Mar 14, 2014 12:09 PM

    You pair AJM with a Watkins or BeckhamJR and arm strength is secondary to YAC production.

    AJM is a game manager, similar to Luck but without the uber-arm strenght.

    If you have two 2nd round picks and need a QB to nurture, AJM is a value pick.

  82. A. R. Huff says: Mar 14, 2014 12:12 PM

    Passing with A.J. McCarron would be a huge mistake

  83. captainronmexico says: Mar 14, 2014 12:18 PM

    “Rolando McClain is the best and smartest player I have ever coached”

    — Nick Saban

  84. ed3557 says: Mar 14, 2014 12:23 PM

    All kidding about Saban aside, I really like McCarren and I’m not exactly sure why NFL scouts aren’t rating him more highly; unlike Tebow, who had horrible mechanics, McCarren looks good throwing, makes great decisions and excelled under a microscope; I’m a Bengals fan and I’d love to see them take him.

  85. 1oldpro says: Mar 14, 2014 12:23 PM

    Said the worst NFL coach ever!

  86. bigbamboom1 says: Mar 14, 2014 12:29 PM

    I discount what all of these coaches say. And take it with a grain of salt. I let my eyes tell me what I’m seeing. And while I’m a rabid Wisconsin Badger fan and alumni. These eyes saw a lot of ‘Bama on TV over the past 3 years. And these eyes tell me McCarron is a can’t miss in the right program. He should actually hope he does slip into the middle or later rounds of the draft. Because I believe better teams like Dallas, Arizona, Cincinnati and even New England, Houston (2nd round) and Denver are salivating over him. What I saw was a flat out winner. A guy who makes lightning fast decisions, ala Brady, Rogers and etc. And a guy who could “sling it” with great accuracy. In a way it seems like the pundits are penalizing AJ for Alabama’s success with him. Saban doesn’t have to tell me anything about this kid. I saw it with my own eyes. And I think he is 100% correct this time around.

  87. kevpft says: Mar 14, 2014 12:33 PM

    Translation: Passing on McCarron would hurt Saban’s recruiting efforts. So please give him another high draft choice to add to his shiny binder of come-ons for potential recruits.

  88. radrntn says: Mar 14, 2014 12:46 PM

    exact thing you said about rolondo… uh huh!

  89. bnwpnw says: Mar 14, 2014 12:49 PM

    Since he’s an Alabama player, I’m just going to presume his body’s already been destroyed.

  90. greymares says: Mar 14, 2014 12:49 PM

    would be very happy to see this guy as the Mike Vick replacement as the back-up for Nick Foles.

  91. Frazier28/7 says: Mar 14, 2014 1:21 PM

    You’re going to love Minnesota.

  92. damcmp says: Mar 14, 2014 2:25 PM

    the NFL is a team GAME! Look at Michael Vick one man show lots of stats, few wins, no championships

  93. theclink12 says: Mar 14, 2014 5:36 PM

    The only thing certain about McCarron is that his girlfriend is smokin hot!!

  94. bigbamboom1 says: Mar 14, 2014 6:22 PM

    Correction from my comment above:

    “He should actually hope he does slip into the middle or later rounds of the draft.”

    I really meant to say middle to later part of the first round. AJ should easily go anywhere between round 1-3. And I think that is where he will move. I really believe Belichick has his eye squarely on this guy. And if he can pry Houston’s second round pick (#33) and Matt Shaub as a TB backup to get him for Ryan Mallet, it would be a done deal. And free Houston to take the best defensive player available at #1. Or Sammy Watkins.

  95. bamamanchip says: Mar 14, 2014 8:03 PM

    I think Nick is correct and as for the record Saban wanted and tried to get Drew Brees and Miami wouldn’t let him and for the record Saban did nothing wrong about leaving Miami the way he left he and/or his wife changed their minds at the least minute and accepted a better opportunity at Alabama, so why criticize a person for changing their mind about a job or a place to live and raises you children you people who criticize Saban for what happened at Miami or LSU or simply jealous haters is all cause a grown person has every right to change his mind or his wife has every right to change his mind for the betterment of themselves and their children… So hate on, and be sure to say your prayers as God doesn’t condone hatred that I know,so at the end of the day I’ll pray for all…. Go AJ McCarron and prove them wrong…Best of luck son!!!!

  96. bamamanchip says: Mar 14, 2014 8:24 PM

    @ sayingthetruthperiod – you question MCCarron’s arm strength you must not have seen the 65 yard pass to Coup that he through from 10 yards back in his own end zone AJ went from a kid first coming to Bama that was pressing 185 pounds to now pressing over 500 pounds of weights look it up for yourself…. So don’t fool yourself or let your hate control the truth ….

  97. falstaffsmind says: Mar 14, 2014 11:44 PM

    Arm strength isn’t just about the deep ball, it’s also about how much pace you can put on the deep out. The knock on McCarron is that he just can’t throw the deep out as well as scouts like. That hardly means he can’t be successful. These days Payton Manning doesn’t have strong arm. Neither does Phillip Rivers. The real knock on McCarron, is he’s never been the best player on his team. When you look at some of the other QBs in this draft, they were clearly their teams best player. McCarron, during his Alabama career, was always a capable player, but never a guy that carried the team.

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