Bengals' AJ McCarron says pre-draft reports 'hurt'


Now that he's a member of the Cincinnati Bengals, former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron admits the slings and arrows aimed his way during the pre-draft process took their toll.

"It (stinks) that it hurt me like that, but at the same time, I feel like God had a plan," McCarron said Wednesday at Paul Brown Stadium, per Coley Harvey of "Everything's going to work itself out. I'm happy, and hopefully at the end of the day I'll get the last laugh."

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Reports surfaced Saturday that teams were left with questions about McCarron's personality during his one-on-one visits. His decision to blow off the Senior Bowl didn't sit well, and some club executives were left to ask if the Crimson Tide quarterback was liked by his teammates and would thrive under pressure at the NFL level.

By the time the Bengals grabbed McCarron in the fifth round, eight other quarterbacks had come off the board. Quite a tumble for a kid who believed he'd be drafted as high as No. 16 overall.

"I guess when teams met with me, they wanted me to say I'll be a third-round guy and a mediocre quarterback," McCarron said. "Maybe I was too honest or something. I'm an honest person and I say what I feel. That's how I feel about my play. If that turns a team off, then at the end of the day, to me, they didn't really want you. I was myself."

McCarron's version of "myself" was good enough for the Bengals. Around The League doesn't expect the rookie to see meaningful snaps before 2015, but a crash-and-burn act by the streaky Andy Dalton could hasten that timeline for a two-time national champion who 31 other teams passed by.

The "Around The League Podcast" wrapped up the draft by picking our winners and losers.