A.J. McCarron throws the ball during the 2014 NFL Combine. Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

A.J. McCarron working out for St. Louis Rams

The St. Louis Rams have stated several times this offseason that they will stand by former first overall pick Sam Bradford as their starting quarterback in 2013, and it will be the Oklahoma product’s final chance to show that he’s a franchise quarterback in the league. Bradford looked solid last year before going down with an ACL tear and deserves another chance, but he’s expensive and it absolutely has to be a make-or-break year for him. The Rams are looking at second and third-round options at quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft, which is a wise course of action for Les Snead. We’ll see if he can unearth a gem worth entrusting with the starting gig if Bradford flops, and it looks like Snead is putting every relevant prospect under the microscope.

According to the NFL Network’s Albert Breer, the Rams will conduct a private workout with Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback prospect A.J. McCarron on May 1st at Alabama’s campus. McCarron has also visited the New England Patriots (looking for a backup quarterback to replace 2015 free agent Ryan Mallett), Jacksonville Jaguars (in need of a QB and willing to look at all options), and the Cleveland Browns (same boat as the Jags). The Arizona Cardinals are also reportedly interested in McCarron, so it will be interesting to see how his market shakes out.

McCarron is an accurate passer who has plenty of experience and college success, but I don’t think he’s a legitimate franchise quarterback. His arm strength is below-average, he’s much more poised under mental pressure than physical (as in, pass rush) pressure, his deep ball is inconsistent, he didn’t have as advanced progressions as some think, and he seems to have limited upside. That said, I think he could be a great backup in the mold of a better Matt Flynn, but I’m not sure I would spend a top three-round pick on him as a possible starter. The Rams don’t need to gun for a franchise QB, though, so they could take McCarron if they like him enough; offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer could be a darkhorse in this.

Tags: A.J. McCarron Alabama Crimson Tide Football St. Louis Rams

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