Add AJ McCarron to the list of quarterback draft prospects declaring themselves the best available after the Alabama quarterback didn't back down when asked about where he stands at the Crimson Tide's pro day event Wednesday.
"Why not? The rest of those guys feel like they're the best," he said. "It's a mindset you have to carry in yourself. I feel like my play speaks for itself over the three years I started in the SEC. I definitely do."
McCarron is projected to be drafted behind Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, UCF's Blake Bortles, Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, at a minimum. Fresno State's Derek Carr is a strong candidate to be drafted high, as well. But as the winningest quarterback among the group, while playing in the nation's toughest conference the last three seasons, McCarron's confidence isn't lacking.
"I've been hearing everything about arm strength and deep outs and comebacks," he said. "I feel like I should silence all that. I threw it deep early in the workout and I threw it deep late. I felt like it was a real good day."
While no prospect would ever say he's not the best available prospect at his position, the answer to the question doesn't always come out the same. Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley was asked Wednesday if he was the draft's top linebacker, and sprinkled some humility into his reply.
"I think I'm one of the best, but I'm not going to say I'm the best," Mosley said.
McCarron's draft projection is tricky, given that some of the teams with a quarterback need will have filled that need before his name is called. Former Cleveland Browns general manager Phil Savage, executive director of the Reese's Senior Bowl, has taken the scouting pulse on McCarron as, for the most part, a second- or third-round pick.
Most NFL scouts see AJ in the 2nd/3rd round with a couple saying 1st and a few indicating 4th. Derek Carr works 3/20, Zach Mettenberger 4/9.â Phil Savage (@SeniorBowlPhil) March 12, 2014
McCarron also had some interesting remarks about the difference between the college ball he threw well enough for two BCS national championships, and the NFL ball.
"I think the pro (ball) is easier. There is probably a little more technology and thought process behind the ball. They try to make it where you can hardly ever not throw a spiral with that," he said. "It helps when you don't have the white stripes on the ball, because everything looks like a spiral. I felt like the Nike ball was a great ball, and the NFL ball (is too)."
Wednesday, the quarterback-needy Houston Texans were among the teams watching McCarron's workout closely.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.