How Good is AJ?

At no point, really, in Heathen Central’s life as an Alabama fan have we had the sort of lightning-in-a-bottle quarterback that people immediately call a star. There’s been no Johnny Football in crimson. Other SEC schools grabbed showy players like Tim Tebow and Cam Newton, but not us. We probably even envied Tennessee (sssssh!) for Peyton back in the day. But only a little; success at Alabama, when it comes, has always been much more of a team effort than is usually on offer at programs that build their teams around a star QB. No Alabama quarterback has really made a splash in the NFL since, arguably, Kenny Stabler, and even the Snake didn’t get drafted until the second round. (The lion’s share of them aren’t even notable enough for a Wikipedia article.)

It’s not really different now, except it sort of is: AJ McCarron, now in his final year, may well play for his third national title as Alabama’s quarterback this January (he was red shirted for the 2009 season, so he was “on” another title game, too). Nobody else has done that. Few are ever as reliable and error-free as AJ. A stat I’m sure opponents find alarming is that, when you review his career as a starter at Alabama, he’s got just as many championship rings as he has losses. Alabama is 30-2 since AJ took over at the beginning of the 2011 season, and they could very well run the table again this year.

But for some reason, folks keep dismissing his NFL prospects. Grantland takes a look, and finds the arguments wanting.

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