NFL scout compares former Alabama, Auburn quarterbacks

Published 1:45 pm Tuesday, April 23, 2019

I stumbled onto an odd fact for the 2019 NFL Draft yesterday.

An Auburn quarterback drawing comparisons to a former Alabama quarterback is not something you hear everyday going into the three-day draft that starts Thursday and ends Saturday afternoon. recently did its draft projections and compared Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham to former Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron.

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The comparison shocked me because Stidham and McCarron are two different quarterbacks. I always compared McCarron to former New York Giants’ Super Bowl MVP Phil Simms, who never got his due for being a solid quarterback.

McCarron is a better signal-caller than people give credit because the Crimson Tide was run-first during his college career, leading to three national championships. McCarron always took what defenses gave him, something I’d like to see more from current Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Alabama coach Nick Saban once said McCarron could’ve put up big numbers if he was given the opportunity to do so.

Opportunity has eluded McCarron in the NFL. McCarron had the Cincinnati Bengals in position to end its playoff drought four years ago until a defensive meltdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I thought that the Buffalo Bills gave up on McCarron too early and the Oakland Raiders didn’t want to pay a $3 million roster bonus. McCarron will get a chance in Houston because its starter, DeSean Watson, is injury-prone.

Stidham, a projected fourth-rounder, reminds me of Steve Beuerlein, a NFL journeyman quarterback from 1987 to 2005. Beuerlein was picked in the fourth round of the 1987 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Raiders and later earned a Super Bowl ring with the Dallas Cowboys.

For me, the team that drafts Stidham will need time to groom him into a starting role. He grades out as starting material, but is not ready to make an immediate impact.

I believe a team like the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions could use a young signal-caller to groom for the future. Those all have veterans entrenched as starters.

From where I sit, McCarron and Stidham are both capable of becoming NFL starting quarterbacks, but its unfair to compare them.