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AJ McCarron headlines free fall of three big-name SEC QBs in the NFL draft

Anwar S. Richardson
Shutdown Corner

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron slid so far in the NFL draft, he had time to voice his displeasure on Twitter.

If it makes McCarron feel better, he was not the only SEC quarterback forced to wait longer than expected.

Seven quarterbacks were selected before McCarron and Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, including Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas (to Arizona), who is viewed more as an athlete than a passer. The majority of teams that needed a quarterback had selected one. The Detroit Lions, a team without a solid backup for Matthew Stafford, went in a different direction. LSU's Zach Mettenberger, another big-name SEC quarterback expected to go sooner, also waited deep into the third day of the draft.

McCarron, well known for helping lead Alabama to two national championships, wasn't even the first of those three SEC quarterbacks taken. Murray was selected by the Chiefs with the 163rd overall pick, in the fifth round. At least McCarron didn't wait much longer after that. McCarron was picked by Cincinnat with the 164th pick. Mettenberger was finally selected by the Tennessee Titans in the sixth round (178th overall). 

The late-round selection of each quarterback highlighted a rough day for SEC passers.

McCarron spoke with Yahoo’s Eric Edholm prior to the draft and believed he would be a first- or second-day selection.

"Even the first pick this year, no one knows what’s going to happen," McCarron told Edholm. "I might think I am going to be a first- or second-round pick, but no one player is sure on any spot. It all depends on what the Texans do on the first pick of the draft, and whatever they do could end up changing the whole draft."

Houston selected Jadeveon Clowney with the first pick, but three quarterbacks were drafted on the first day. The Texans did not hurt McCarron’s draft stock. He slipped because he doesn't have top-end athleticism, a big arm and great size. Teams obviously don't see him as a sure starter in the NFL.

As a result of McCarron’s expectations, he tweeted out his displeasure with sliding to Day 3.

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(@10AJMcCarron)

The tweet was eventually deleted (probably not what future employers want to see).

None of the three SEC quarterbacks who fell will be asked to compete for a starting job as a rookie.

Murray sustained an ACL injury last season, and he will sit behind Kansas City’s Alex Smith. Meanwhile, Cincinnati is committed to Andy Dalton, at least for 2014. McCarron’s job this season will be to learn the offense and possibly compete in the 2015 season if Dalton continues to struggle in the playoffs.

McCarron and Murray did not have a great draft day experience, but it beats Mettenberger’s slide. The LSU product was still available entering Round 6. He had a diluted drug sample during the NFL scouting combine, but his trainer said it was the result of over-hydration. He is also working back from an ACL injury.

Mettenberger didn't land in a bad situation, behind oft-injured Jake Locker in Tennessee, but he'll still have to prove a lot to become the starter.

All three QBs should have a chip on their shoulders.

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Anwar S Richardson is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at NFLAnwar@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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