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AJ McCarron told he'll be drafted as high as No. 16 in first round

Draft projections on Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, which run anywhere from the second to fourth round of the NFL draft next week, aren't quite as high as what he's been told by NFL executives. In fact, McCarron says he's been given a range of expectation that would make the earliest picks of the second round his worst-case scenario, not his best.

"They felt like I could go anywhere from 16-35," McCarron told the Paul Finebaum radio show. "I believe that, too. At the same time, I don't have my hopes set on anything. Whatever happens, happens. It's a blessing for me to even be in this situation."

McCarron being drafted as high as the No. 16 overall pick, which belongs to the Dallas Cowboys, would certainly raise eyebrows among draft experts. Quarterbacks Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr are all widely projected to be chosen ahead of McCarron, with others such as Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo, Pittsburgh's Tom Savage and LSU's Zach Mettenberger in contention to be next in line, as well. The 35th pick belongs to the Cleveland Browns, who are certainly in need of a quarterback and could be eyeing McCarron at that point in the draft, but only if they pass on the position with their previous two picks at Nos. 4 and 26 overall.

McCarron said "pretty much everyone so far," in his discussions with NFL clubs, has told him he's been given a first-round grade. He also believes the posturing NFL clubs engage in through the media makes projections and mock drafts unreliable.

"A lot of times teams will bring in a guy just to bluff another team and make it seem like toward the media that they like this guy and really they have no interest at all in drafting him," he said.

One mock, however, would be right on target with McCarron's expectations.

NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks' two-round mock draft projects the Houston Texans to make McCarron the first pick of the second round, No. 33 overall.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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