A.J. McCarron says he has similarities to Tom Brady, calls the Patriots 'the Alabama of pro football'
INDIANAPOLIS — If the New England Patriots are going to look to the draft for a new backup to quarterback Tom Brady, head coach Bill Belichick may turn to an old friend. Belichick has a long-standing relationship with Alabama head coach Nick Saban, which has caused for some speculation that the Patriots could target two-time BCS National Champion quarterback A.J. McCarron.
If that happens, he does not feel that the move from Alabama to New England — aside from an obvious dramatic shift in climate — would be a big change.
"It's almost like New England is the Alabama of pro football," he said. "Coach Saban learned under coach Belichick. It would be almost deja vu in a way."
Alabama is known as one of the more pro-style programs in college football, which could mean McCarron is more well-prepared to handle the expectations and the rigors of life in the NFL.
He may not get a chance to start right away, with Brady still playing at a high level, but that would allow him time to develop and learn the Patriots' offense, which is known for its complexity. Regardless, McCarron is still excited about the possibility of heading to New England and learning from the two-time NFL MVP and three-time Super Bowl champion.
"I love the Patriots organization," McCarron said. “If I had the chance to go there and sit behind Brady for however long and learn from one of the best to ever play the game, that would be an awesome experience."
The Patriots would probably not have to use a high pick if they want McCarron, who is projected to be drafted in the middle rounds (third or fourth round, depending on who you ask), and while that may mean less than top dollar for McCarron in his rookie deal, he doesn't sound concerned in the least.
"I don't worry about money," he said. "I was raised without any money. Being broke, I'm used to it. If you're money-hungry, it's not going to come to you. If you're just patient and go with the flow and let the chips fall where they fall and (rely on) God's plan, everything will be fine in the end."
Although McCarron certainly has a long way to go to reach the heights Brady has reached in his career, he already sees some similarities to Brady in their style of play, the questions about their arm strength coming out of college and even in body build — for what it's worth, McCarron is listed as 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Brady measured in at 6-foot-4 and 211 pounds at the combine in 2000.
"The last time I made a comment like that I got criticized, but like I said last time, I don't think you can compare anybody to anybody, I don't understand how people do that because everybody's different. When it comes to similarities, I think from body build to how we were talked about coming out of college, I think Tom Brady. I think we play the game the same way. He still moves in the pocket pretty well to get away from blitzes and everybody doubted his arm strength coming out, and he's turned out pretty good so far, I would say."
Under the tutelage of Belichick and Josh McDaniels, McCarron could turn out "pretty good," too.
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