Prior to the 2014 NFL Draft, many speculated that the Cincinnati Bengals would target a quarterback to potentially replace starter Andy Dalton. The Bengals added Alabama signal-caller A.J. McCarron during the fifth round (164th overall), but he’s not the answer fans were hoping for.
Since taking over as the Bengals’ starting quarterback, Dalton has shown more than originally expected after the team made him their second-round pick back in 2011. However, his inability to perform in the clutch – leading to Cincinnati’s early playoff departures the last three seasons – has forced fans to call for his job.
The Bengals were expected to target a quarterback to push him for the starting spot, but McCarron simply isn’t that guy.
A three-time National Champion during his days with Alabama, McCarron has proven himself to be a worthy NFL quarterback prospect. He displays a solid arm, good poise in the pocket and a knack for making smart, low-risk decisions with the football, leading to his labeling as a “game manager.” However, he doesn’t bring anything special to the table, and reportedly rubbed NFL teams the wrong way during pre-draft interviews.
Overall, he’s a decent quarterback with some backup potential, but he certainly isn’t going to outperform Dalton anytime soon.
When all is said and done this preseason, McCarron might not even beat out veteran journeyman Jason Campbell for the backup spot. He’ll likely supplant Josh Johnson as the No. 3 quarterback, but stands little chance of evening seeing the field as a rookie, let alone beating Dalton out for the starting gig.
Nice try, Bengals, but that isn’t going to get it done. Looks like another year of promising regular season play followed by a pitiful playoff showing for Cincinnati.