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Namath: AJ McCarron needs strong offensive line to succeed

From one former Alabama quarterback to another, it's not surprising that "Broadway" Joe Namath likes what he sees from the Crimson Tide's latest pro quarterback prospect, AJ McCarron.

"He has the ability physically and mentally, certainly, and the leadership quality, the intangibles, the work ethic," Namath said.

But Namath also sees trouble ahead for McCarron's NFL career if he doesn't land in the right situation on draft day. Namath told goerie.com that McCarron needs a strong offensive line to play behind.

"The best quarterback I ever saw play that's not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is Archie Manning, because he never had a decent team," Namath said. "It's a team game. If AJ gets with some guys that could allow him to do his best, too -- offensive line to start with. If AJ gets a team that doesn't have the kind of blocking he needs, he's going to struggle. I'm first hoping that he gets with a quality group of people and teachers and AJ will be fine."

To some extent, of course, Namath's logic applies to every rookie quarterback, but it might apply to McCarron more than most. McCarron isn't particularly mobile, and Alabama's dynamic rushing attack didn't place him in as many third-and-long trials as a patchwork NFL line might.

Projected as a Day 2 pick, McCarron could find himself in almost any situation: As the future quarterback of a struggling franchise or a quarterback who'll be groomed behind a veteran on a winning one. The best pass-protecting offensive lines from last season aren't exactly littered with clubs in need of a quarterback: the Denver Broncos, with Peyton Manning, and Detroit Lions, with Matthew Stafford, allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL.

And most among the top 10 in that category have a well-established quarterback already.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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