NFL Combine Live: A.J. McCarron Says He’d Like To Be Patriots’ Backup Quarterback

Johnny Manziel4:27 p.m.: The bench press numbers are out. UNC center Russell Bodine led the way with 42 reps of 225 pounds. Bloomsberg offensive tackle Matt Feiler, Utah State center Tyler Larsen, Ohio State center Corey Linsley and Tennessee offensive tackle Antonio Richardson each had 36 reps.

Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro put up 30 reps, which is impressive for a player at that position.

4:07 p.m.Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald might overshadow Jadeveon Clowney on Monday.

The 288-pound Donald has been running the 40-yard dash “in the high 4.5’s/low 4.6’s,” according to DraftInsider.net. Donald has been compared to Cincinnati Bengals All-Pro Geno Atkins.

The Seahawks are reportedly enamored by Donald.

3:57 p.m.Top tackle prospect Greg Robinson had an impressive showing at the bench press this afternoon.

Robinson has 35-inch arms, which makes his 32 reps even more impressive.

3:45 p.m.: LSU running back Jeremy Hill is saving NFL teams time before the draft.

He was initially arrested in 2011 for having “carnal knowledge of a juvenile,” which is a misdemeanor. He was arrested again in 2013 for punching a man outside a bar.

3:00 p.m.The Patriots will begin contract negotiations with Aqib Talib this weekend in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting Combine, according to the Boston Herald.

The Patriots have exclusive negotiation rights with Talib until free agency begins on March 11.

2:02 p.m.If the Patriots trade Ryan Mallett, they’re going to need a new backup quarterback. Since A.J. McCarron was coached by Bill Belichick’s buddy, Nick Saban, the Alabama quarterback has been tied to the Patriots.

McCarron says he’d like to be Tom Brady’s backup.

1:59 p.m.Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron has the right attitude about where he’s drafted in May.

“I’m not worried about money,” McCarron said. I was raised broke, so I’m used to it.”

1:47 p.m.The Baltimore Ravens are planning on having Ray Rice for the 2014 season.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was asked whether Rice would be back after reports surfaced that a video exists of the running back knocking his fiancee unconscious with an uppercut in Atlantic City, N.J.

“I haven’t seen anything that would remotely make me think that,” Harbaugh said.

1:20 p.m.The Texans don’t know who they’re taking with the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft just yet.

Head coach Bill O’Brien says the franchise has narrowed the decision down to five or six players, though. One would assume Johnny Manziel is among those players since the Texans need a quarterback.

Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who could play outside linebacker or defensive end in Romeo Crennell’s 3-4, is likely in that group too.

O’Brien also talked about his connection with Central Florida head coach George O’Leary. O’Brien coached under O’Leary at Georgia Tech from 1995 to 2001. O’Leary coached top quarterback prospect Blake Bortles, who could also be in the mix for that No. 1 pick.

O’Brien was also asked to compare some of this year’s quarterback prospects to Tom Brady.

“In my opinion you can’t compare guys to Tom Brady,” O’Brien said. “Guys like Tom Brady don’t come along very often.”

Understatement of the combine?

12:20 p.m.Manziel denies that he got help for alcohol abuse. He said he did meet with a counselor to learn more about alcohol issues.

12:15 p.m.As Manziel is talking, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Seahawks are releasing wide receiver Sidney Rice, as expected.

12:10 p.m.Johnny Manziel said it was “extremely cool” for Tom Brady to text him back. Manziel said the conversation started out humorously and turned more serious.

Brady said that if Manziel teaches him to run as fast as the Texas A&M prospect, he’ll do anything for Manziel.

About his height, Manziel said he feels like he plays 10-feet-tall.

11:53 a.m.Johnny Manziel’s wishes might come true.

The Texas A&M quarterback is set to meet with the Houston Texans on Saturday, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. Manziel has made his dream to be drafted No. 1 overall well known.

Manziel has studied tape of the 2011 New England Patriots to impress Texans head coach and former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. We’ll find out in May if it worked.

11:35 a.m.Pete Carroll said he’s not worried that other NFL teams will steal the Seahawks’ blueprint of drafting big, fast, physical cornerbacks because “there just aren’t many humans like that.”

The Seahawks got lucky getting a few good ones in Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell and Brandon Browner.

NFL teams could start drafting wide receivers low and converting them to cornerbacks. Sherman was a college wide receiver but switched to cornerback in his third season at Stanford. It’s tougher to make that transition in the pros but still possible.

11:33 a.m.A.J. McCarron tweeted that his hands measured at 10 inches. That’s even bigger than Manziel’s. McCarron’s throwing display on Sunday will be important.

A lot of draft analysts are down on McCarron, but there’s a lot to like about the Alabama product’s accuracy, leadership and smarts.

10:48 a.m.Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin didn’t even crack the Top 32 in draft experts’ composite draft rankings. That will likely change after the combine.

Benjamin measured in at 6-foot-5, 240 pounds. He tweeted that he has four-percent body fat. To put some perspective behind that, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson was 6-foot-5, 239 pounds at the 2007 combine.

Benjamin’s 40-yard dash time will be huge on Sunday. If he runs a 4.4-second 40, he could jump into the top half of the first round.

Texas A&M wideout Mike Evans measured in at 6-foot-4 3/4, 231 pounds. It’s unlikely his body fat is four percent, however.

Top wide receiver Sammy Watkins is 6-foot 3/4, 211 pounds. Both LSU wide receivers — Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry — measured in at under 6-foot.

10:20 a.m.Bill Belichick, Mike Lombardi and Greg Schiano were hanging out on Thursday night, according to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe and Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald.

Volin says there’s a lot of “buzz” that Schiano could join the New England Patriots’ coaching staff as a linebackers coach. Howe isn’t putting much stock into the “buzz,” however. Belichick said in his press conference on Thursday that the Patriots’ coaching staff is set for now.

It wouldn’t be shocking to see a fired head coach take a job in a positional role to stay in the league. Fired Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak is coaching the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line, for instance.

10 a.m. ET: The quarterbacks are set to take the podium on Day 2 of the NFL Scouting Combine.

Because the quarterbacks have arrived, their heights and weights are starting to roll in, as well. Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel didn’t quite crack 6-foot. He’s 5-foot-11 3/4, 207 pounds. That might have affected his draft stock if the Super Bowl XLVIII-winning quarterback wasn’t an inch shorter than Manziel.

Manziel has huge 9 7/8-inch hands, which absolutely helps his stock. Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is 6-foot-2 1/8, 214 pounds, and he has hands on the smaller side at 9 1/4-inches.

Central Florida’s Blake Bortles is 6-foot-5, 232 pounds with 9 3/8-inch hands. Alabama’s A.J. McCarron is 6-foot-3 1/4, 220 pounds. McCarron and Bortles are set to throw this weekend. Bridgewater is still undecided.

Have a question for Doug Kyed? Send it to him via Twitter at @DougKyedNESN or send it here.

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