Currently nestled behind Jason Campbell on the depth chart, McCarron doesn't figure to see snaps as a rookie. If the Bengals can't agree to a long-term extension with Dalton, though, the rookie looms as a future option under center on a talent-laden roster coming off three straight trips to the postseason.
Clocking in at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, McCarron lacks the big, vertical arm you'd like at the game's highest level, but his experience playing in a pro-style offense under Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban is a plus.
"He has the athleticism to move in the pocket and buy himself more time to make a throw," NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock said. "I get frustrated with his mechanics; sometimes he gets sloppy."
Stung by pre-draft reports that questioned his character and ability to thrive in the NFL, McCarron -- who thought he could go as high as 16th overall -- hits Cincy with a major-league chip on his shoulder. Considering Dalton's uncertain future, the rookie's chance for redemption might arrive sooner than some expect.