First off, let's make things clear. This has nothing, I repeat, nothing, to do with me being a huge fan of the Alabama Crimson Tide. This does however, have everything to do with my being the evaluator that I am, watching the tape and asking myself, "Which quarterback prospect fits best with the Jaguars and offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch?"
Miami's Stephen Morris is not the answer, the most-winningest quarterback in all of college football history, Alabama's AJ McCarron is the answer.
Winning in the NFL is important and something the Jaguars haven’t had much of on a consistent basis in a very long time. In the end, it's wins and losses that decide the fate of not only a head coach, but at times the general manager too. With McCarron, well, winning comes natural as all he does is win.
No, no, it’s not his supporting cast, McCarron himself is a playmaker and certainly not just a 'game manager.’ If anything, at the very least, McCarron is a smart, experienced, highly-competitive team leader who makes smart decisions and takes care of the football–he knows when to check it down and when to hit the long man downfield.
He has great pocket poise and even when Alabama’s line broke down at times, never seemed to be rattled when the pressure was in his face, unlike somebody us Jaguar fans all know. He isn't great in the mobility department by any means, but he can pick up small yardage when he has to and even extend the play. McCarron lacks ideal arm strength, but puts enough zip on the ball to fit into tight spots and set his receivers up for lots of yardage after the catch on slant routes.
What gives McCarron an edge on all the other prospects in this class is his experience in operating a pro-style offense under (Alabama head coach) Nick Saban, as opposed to a spread offense. McCarron makes progression reads better than any quarterback in this class and works from under center as well as in the gun with ease–another thing that spread offense quarterbacks will struggle with.
He has top-notch field vision and is able find his second option. However, instead of waiting until his receiver has separated from the defender, McCarron needs to lead his receiver more and trust him to separate enough to make the catch. His mechanics are decent, but could use some refinement to speed them up just a smidge.
You've heard his name countless times. You've heard about his girlfriend. You've heard his coach tell us that he's the most underrated quarterback in the country. You've also heard about his recent engagement... but put all that garbage aside because McCarron is focused on playing football.
He doesn't run his mouth, he let's his play on-the-field do his talking. He works hard and is a natural-born leader. He is the glue that keeps the offensive huddle together. He's the one to tell his receiver to forget about that dropped pass and get ready for the next play. He's the guy that goes and says a few kind words to encourage his line of protection to keep up the good work, when they're in the fourth quarter.
AJ McCarron is every offensive coordinator's dream and every defensive coordinator's nightmare. Jacksonville certainly needs someone like McCarron to rally the offense together and inject some inspiration, production and life into an offense who has been idle for the last few years. He's the answer at quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars.