2011 draft Andy Dalton vs 2014 draft AJ McCarron

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


One of the most nonsensical things we’ve heard since the Bengals drafted AJ McCarron is that he wins big games, while Dalton doesn’t. And therefore McCarron > Dalton as the Bengals’ starter.
It’s nonsensical because McCarron hasn’t played an NFL game yet. Playing with a stacked ‘Bama team in college and comparing to what a guy does at the NFL level is kind of silly.

So let’s compare apples to apples.

How does Andy Dalton (from the 2011 NFL draft) compare to AJ McCarron?


SIZE: McCarron (slightly)

Dalton measured 6’2" and 215 lbs

McCarron measured 6’3" and 220 lbs

McCarron has a 1 inch, and 5 lb advantage


Neither of the QB’s turned heads at the combine, but Dalton beat out McCarron on every athletic drill.

40: Dalton 4.82 ... McCarron 4.90

Vert: Dalton 29.5" ... McCarron 28.0"

Broad: Dalton 8’10" ... McCarron 8’3"

Shuttle: Dalton 4.27 ... McCarron 4.34

3-cone: Dalton 6.93 ... McCarron 7.18


McCarron’s mediocre #’s from the combine show up on the field.

In 4 seasons at Alabama, McCarron totaled 119 rushes for -50 yards, -0.4 ypc, and 3 TD’s.

While not Cam Newton, or even Jake Locker, Dalton showed that he was capable of running forward with the ball when it was required of him.

In 4 seasons at TCU, Dalton totaled 413 rushes for 1,611 yards, 3.9 ypc and 22 TD’s


This is one where most folks want to say McCarron clearly wins, since he has the national titles.

But looking at their records, Andy was every bit as good as McCarron.

McCarron did not start in Bama’s first year.

In his final 3 seasons, the Tide went 12-1, 13-1, 11-2.

That totals 36-4 as a starter, with the worst year being his senior year.

Dalton started as a freshman, going 8-5.

Since McCarron didn’t start as a freshman, we’ll look at Dalton’s final 3 years for an even comparison: 11-2, 12-1, 13-0

Dalton’s team got better each year, culminating in a perfect 13-0 season...something McCarron never did.

That totals 36-3 as a starter for his last 3 years, with each year getting better.


This is the primary area where McCarron is hailed over Dalton.

But people often look to Dalton’s NFL results when making this comparison.

It’s not fair to compare Dalton’s NFL results to McCarron’s college results.

So we’ll compare Dalton’s college results to McCarrons’ college results.

As a senior, McCarron led ‘Bama to a 9-0 start, with some impressive #’s

2,041 yards, 69%, 19 TD, 3 INT

But down the stretch over his final 3 games (ignoring the mismatch vs Chattanooga), McCarron’s production dropped, and ‘Bama finished 1-2 including losses in their 2 biggest games of the season: SEC title game, and their bowl game.

851 yards, 59%, 7 TD, 4 INT

As a senior Dalton had a great stretch run which culminated in a huge upset against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, where Dalton totaled 2 TD’s and 0 INT’s.

Dalton held his own vs. top-25 opponents, and even topped RGIII in a duel between TCU and Baylor.


Clearly McCarron played on a bigger stage, in national title games.

And McCarron faced tougher defenses on a more regular basis.

But... McCarron was playing with a loaded team that included tons of highly drafted players on offense and defense.

McCarron had to face tougher obstacles, but had much more potent firepower on his side with which to face these obstacles.


McCarron’s numbers look a lot better than Daltons, but one has to remember that Dalton has a full season of subpar freshman stats included in his totals, which McCarron avoids.

Even without the freshman year included, McCarron has better #’s.

Dalton: 62% ... 10,314 yards ...71 TD ... 30 INT

McCarron: 67% ... 9,019 yards ... 77 TD ... 15 INT

ARM & QB Ability: Even

Coming out of college, Dalton was hailed as being very accurate on short & intermediate routes, but struggling with accuracy on the deep ball.

Dalton often underthrows the deep ball

Dalton was also praised for his ability to be a heady QB who could quickly assimilate an offense and understand what is happening on the field.

Like Dalton, McCarron isn’t considered to have elite arm strength. It’s probably one of his biggest weaknesses.

If he had great arm strength, he probably would have been a round 1 pick instead of round 5.

McCarron’s insane TD:INT ratio shows that he has good field vision, and makes good decisions.

But, he was protected with an awesome O-Line that gave him all sorts of time to make the right throws.


In the final analysis, both QB’s played well in college.

Dalton is slightly more athletic, while McCarron is slightly bigger.

Dalton came up big in big games in college (but that hasn’t shown up in the NFL).

McCarron did well against tougher competition, while surrounded by much better talent.

Nothing really seems to jump off the page and scream that 2014 McCarron will be much better or much worse than 2011 Dalton projected to be.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Cincy Jungle

You must be a member of Cincy Jungle to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cincy Jungle. You should read them.

Join Cincy Jungle

You must be a member of Cincy Jungle to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cincy Jungle. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.