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NFL draft: AJ McCarron gets feisty at combine defending himself against critics

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner

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(USA Today Sports Images)

INDIANAPOLIS – Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron didn't face all that much criticism in college.

Why would he have? McCarron had one of the most successful college careers any quarterback has ever had, winning two national titles and a 36-4 record.

But he has found every slight as he prepares for the NFL draft, and is remembering them all.

His combine press conference was a little combative at times, as he kept going through the various criticisms of him.

"I feel like I've been disrespected my whole college career because I've won," McCarron said at the combine. "Usually the knock on me is deep ball, and I won behind NFL talent. Which is crazy because when you get to the NFL you're playing with NFL talent. It's not like we didn't play anybody. We played in the SEC, and to me that's the best conference in college football. I played against 40-some guys who have been drafted.

"I definitely have a chip on my shoulder. I'm ready to get out there and prove people wrong."

While it's fairly ridiculous to think the criticism has come "because I've won," he obviously has listened to what is being said about him in regards to his pro future. Mostly, it includes a caveat that he played on some of the most talented teams in college football at Alabama.

"Everybody said I was playing behind NFL talent at Alabama," McCarron said. "But usually in the NFL, that's what's in the NFL: NFL talent. I don't know how that could be a knock, really."

McCarron also talked about one thing he has worked on this offseason, which is his release point. He said he dropped down too often instead of consistently throwing it from the highest point possible.

And that answer led into him taking on another criticism.

"All the experts try to knock me on the deep ball, trying to say my arm is not strong," McCarron said. "My arm is strong enough. I can throw the ball 65 yards."

So, if you like athletes who push themselves because of perceived criticism, McCarron might be your guy.

He discussed the possibility of landing in New England, which doesn't seem to be a bad possibility for him. He could sit and learn behind Tom Brady, which he said would be a great experience. He said playing for Bill Belichick would be a lot like playing for one of Belichick's old assistants, Alabama coach Nick Saban.

Really, it doesn't matter which team he goes to. Or where he gets drafted. When asked about the money he might lose if he slips in the draft, McCarron said he didn't grow up with much money so he's used to being broke. McCarron just wants his foot in the door. Once he gets that NFL shot, he can go about proving all the knocks on him were wrong.

"I don't care where I fall," McCarron said. "I just want a chance to showcase."

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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