But Norwood went out on a limb in his pro projection for McCarron in a pre-draft diary installment with USA Today Sports.
"The team that picks up AJ is going to be really lucky," Norwood wrote. "To me, in all honesty, if not the first year or the second year or the third year or the fourth year -- whatever -- he's going to win that Super Bowl. That's how confident I am in him. He reminds me of an Eli or Peyton Manning. His mannerisms, the way he calls plays, changes to audibles and gets us in the right play and the right formation, it's professional."
McCarron is generally projected as a second-day pick (second or third round), although if his track record for winning games at the college level (36-4 record as a starter) translates well to the Sunday league, he could end up being one of the draft's steals at the position. Norwood, who said he is drawing interest from the Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots, is projected as a third-day pick himself (rounds 4-7).
Norwood sees both as a bargain.
"I think AJ's more ready than any other quarterback coming out," he said. "And I think I'm more ready than any other receiver coming out. We've won three national championships. We know what it takes to win. We know how hard you've got to work to win. We're leaders, on and off the field."
McCarron won two national championships as a starter -- he redshirted for Alabama's 2009 title team -- but benefitted from elite talent around him on both sides of the ball. That doesn't necessarily make him less of a pro prospect, as his critics have suggested, but his chance of winning a Super Bowl early in his NFL career will have as much to do with who drafts him as it does with his own play.