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.
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
RUNNING ABILITY: Dalton
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.
In 4 seasons at TCU, Dalton totaled 413 rushes for 1,611 yards, 3.9 ypc and 22 TD’s
TEAM SUCCESS: EVEN
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.
BIG GAME RESULTS: EVEN
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.
SURROUNDING TALENT vs. LEVEL OF COMPETITION: EVEN
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.
COLLEGE STATS: McCarron
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.