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AJ McCarron returns to campus on heavy side

Butch Dill/Associated Press
Alabama QB AJ McCarron doesn't believe his Sugar Bowl performance will impact his draft status much.

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron will look to deliver his 38th win in 41 career starts for the Crimson Tide against Oklahoma in the Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl, but after three seasons under center, he's unconcerned about how his final college game might affect his draft status. In fact, he took a dig at a draft analyst for a perceived slight of his pro evaluation.

"Whatever happens, happens in the future. I'm pretty sure if Mel Kiper thinks I'm fourth round still, then one game isn't going to change his mind," McCarron said. "There's nothing I can do but play for my team."

The fourth round is about the low end of scouting opinions on McCarron. His draft status has been the subject of spirited debate, with opinions varying from a day-one pick to a day-three pick. On the high end, NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks believes McCarron could hear his name called in Round 1.

The postseason awards circuit apparently didn't do much for McCarron's physical condition. He was on hand in Orlando for the Home Depot College Football Awards Show, where he won the Maxwell Award, then was off to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremonies. While there, he took a liking to New York-style pizza, and returned to Tuscaloosa wieighing 230 pounds, about 15 above his playing weight. He indicated he dropped six of those pounds almost immediately.

"The first day back I could feel it, I was big," he said. "But I was moving fine."

If McCarron isn't drafted in the first round, NFL clubs with a need at quarterback who pass on one in the first round figure to have McCarron circled for subsequent rounds. NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah, in his latest look at draft needs for each team, sees quarterback needs for the Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.



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