Is this the future for AJ McCarron? Clearly unknown at this point, the past decade (2002-2012) has nonetheless shown Cincinnati’s fifth round selections to have been, on the whole, abysmal. Unremarkable players such as Maurice Mann, AJ Nicholson, Jason Shirley, and Robert Sands adorn the list. In fact, Marvin Jones (2012) and Kevin Huber (2009) alone remain success stories. In fact, the Bengals have gotten more production out of UDFA then late-rounders in the Dalton-Green era.
For a pedigree standpoint, most of the current Bengals who roll from the Crimson Tide are without polemic criticism either. Andre Smith’s work ethic is a constant source of frustration for coaches and fans while the enigmatic Dre Kirkpatrick still has yet to emerge as the first-round talent he was drafted to be. Wallace Gilberry is the only quiet professional hailing from Alabama, though ironically he was an UDFA in 2008.
The central critique against McCarron seems to have come from a perceived arrogance that rubbed coaches and players the wrong way. While McCarron says he has been “hurt” by his late round selection, his post-draft comments and actions do not disavow his critics. For example, McCarron has reverberated publically his former Coach Nick Saban’s comments that he played his senior season injured, alighting his quiet suffering as selfless;
I played through a lot and just always tried to fight through for my teammates and my team and the University of Alabama.”
Strangely, these sort of contextual explanations have not been offered by the likes of first rounders like Marquis Lee or CJ Mosely who also played hurt last season.