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AJ McCarron can thrive on Titans, Cardinals, analysts say

Alabama coach Nick Saban has already issued his warning that clubs need to pay more attention to quarterback AJ McCarron as one of the best options at the position in this year's NFL Draft.

Count NFL Media analyst Charles Davis as someone who echoes that sentiment. Discussing McCarron on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft," Davis said he thinks McCarron could be more than just a solid NFL starter.

"He has the intelligence, he has the background in what he is doing," Davis said. "He knows that his arm isn't elite, so he makes up for it with anticipation and timing and understanding of routes to know when to get rid of the football."

McCarron has drawn mixed reviews from scouts despite being one of the most successful quarterbacks to ever play college football. His stock is trending upward, however, and that was further enhanced by a very successful pro day in front of all 32 NFL teams.

While it's clear that the Alabama native will find a home on some club's roster, where he goes might be just as important to his NFL future as when he goes in the draft.

"He's going to have to go a place that mirrors what he had at Alabama," Davis said. "A place that has a big-time running game, a place with a stout offensive line and some receivers that can make some plays.

"To me that's the Tennessee Titans."

That destination would fulfill several of the team requirements Davis thinks McCarron needs. 2014 figures to be an audition year for current Titans starter Jake Locker as new coach Ken Whisenhunt figures out whether he's the long-term answer. Although the team did sign Charlie Whitehurst to be the backup, he's unlikely to be a major factor in the team's plans.

McCarron will have a tough time cracking anyone's first-round mock draft, but he remains in play to be a second-day pick for a number of teams. Fellow analyst Daniel Jeremiah suggested that a team out West should strongly consider McCarron.

"I look at a team like the Arizona Cardinals," Jeremiah said. "You've got Carson Palmer in his mid-30's. Get another year or two out of him and groom AJ McCarron. He doesn't have a big arm, but I don't think you need one in that division. You're playing indoors and on the West Coast a lot. I'd think he'd fit nicely in there and get the last couple of years of Larry Fitzgerald's career.

"If he goes to the right fit, we could sit here seven or eight years from now saying that was the guy teams missed on."

Oh look, there's Saban nodding along in agreement.

Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.

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