The New England Patriots will need a new backup if they get their wish and trade quarterback Ryan Mallett for a second-round pick.
Alabama’s AJ McCarron would be a natural choice. He’s projected to be a second- or third-round pick, and his size, pedigree and lack of elite arm strength have drawn comparisons to Tom Brady.
McCarron can see the likeness.
“When it comes to similarities, I think from body build to how we were talked about coming out of college, I think Tom Brady,” McCarron said Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I think we play the game the same way. He still moves in the pocket pretty well to get away from blitzes, and everybody doubted his arm strength coming out, and he’s turned out pretty good so far, I would say.”
Nick Saban, McCarron’s head coach at Alabama, has been the most successful branch from the Bill Belichick coaching tree. Saban was Belichick’s defensive coordinator when the two were with the Cleveland Browns from 1991 to 1994.
“It’s almost like New England is the Alabama of pro football,” McCarron said. “Coach (Nick) Saban learned under coach (Bill) Belichick. It would be almost deja vu in a way.”
McCarron said he would welcome the opportunity to sit behind Brady as the Patriots’ backup. Brady is signed through 2017, and Mallett is on the last year of his rookie deal, so the Patriots might be looking for a new successor.
“I love the Patriots organization,” McCarron said. “If I had the chance to go there and sit behind Brady for however long and learn from one of the best to ever play the game, that would be an awesome experience.”
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