(FOX19) - The Bengals drafted Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron in the fifth round, but made it clear Andy Dalton is still the team's starter.
McCarron, who won two national championships with the Crimson Tide, said he will join the Bengals with the understanding that Andy Dalton will be the team's top quarterback.
"I respect Andy and I watch him a ton," said McCarron after he was drafted. "I think he's one of the best in the league. I'm excited to get up there and learn under those guys and be the best teammate for our team."
Dalton is entering the final year of his contract, but the Bengals coaching staff has said they don't want another quarterback, even one they drafted, to steal practice reps from Dalton. Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said McCarron will have to do extra work before and after practice to help develop his game.
"This isn't about Andy Dalton. This is really about improving the (quarterback) room," said Jackson. "AJ was on our board and we kind of hold true to our board. He's a tremendous football player, played a lot of big games at Alabama, we have a lot of respect for his talent and ability."