J.J. McCarthy - QB - Michigan

Michigan’s Championship winning quarterback has seen a slow and steady rise up a number of analysts’ pre-draft rankings, with some touting the 21-year old Illinois native as the No.2 overall pick. He’s a 5-star recruit who only tasted defeat once in his 29 starts for the Wolverines, and whilst there are question marks over his ability to lead an offense given his relatively low passing volume in college, the potential here is undeniable.

Measurables

Height: 6′ 2″

Weight: 219 lbs

Age: 21

40-yard dash: DNP

3-cone drill: 6.82s

20-yard shuttle: 4.23s

Vertical Jump: DNP

Broad Jump: DNP

Bench Press: DNP

*age is at the start of player’s rookie year

College Stats

Passing Table
Passing
YearSchoolConfClassPosGCmpAttPctYdsY/AAY/ATDIntRate
*2021MichiganBig TenFRQB11345957.65168.78.952152.3
*2022MichiganBig TenSO1420832264.627198.49.1225155.0
*2023MichiganBig TenSRQB1524033272.329919.09.8224167.4
CareerMichigan48271367.662268.79.44911160.5
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 3/28/2024.

Notable Headlines

McCarthy was named a Top-25 prospect and one of the best quarterback candidates leaving high school, a talent that caught the eye of Jim Harbaugh and saw him join the Big Ten programme in Ann Arbor as backup to Cade McNamara. In week 2 of his sophomore season McCarthy was named the starter and led the Wolverines to an undefeated conference campaign (13-0) before losing in the Fiesta Bowl to TCU. The loss would be McCarthy’s last as a collegiate athlete, with the QB guiding Michigan to a National Championship in his junior year after a flawless 15-0 season. McCarthy finished his college career with 6,226 passing yards (5th in programme history), a 27-1 W/L record (Leads QBs since 2000) and a completion rate of 67.6% (1st in programme history – over 20 attempts).

Scouting Report

Positives

Despite having notably fewer passing attempts than other top prospects in the draft, McCarthy shows poise under pressure and plays with the confidence and focus required in a starting NFL quarterback. McCarthy’s ability to manage a game and protect the ball will be a welcome attribute for coaching staff in the professional ranks, with his considerable arm strength making him an attractive option for a number of franchises. McCarthy possesses speed which wasn’t necessarily showcased in Michigan’s run-heavy offense, making him more dangerous out of the pocket than some give him credit for.

Negatives

Questions have been asked of McCarthy’s touch on deeper passes with the Michigan man tending to overthrow his receivers downfield. Some doubts have been raised regarding the speed he goes through his progressions, raising concerns for his decision making at times. Measuring up at only 6’2” and weighing in under 220 will be a red flag for many selectors who will have some uncertainty relating to his physicality on an NFL field.

Pre Draft Analysis

Expected Draft Capital- Early Round 1

Ideal Landing Spot

The rumour mill has kicked into overdrive since McCarthy’s pro day, and projections of him going to Washington at the No.2 overall pick are the latest trend in some mock drafts – but to me that just doesn’t make sense for what Dan Quinn and the Commanders want to do with their offense. Minnesota are one of five teams who will undoubtedly be drafting their 2024 starting QB in the 1st round on April 25th and with Kirk Cousins departing for Atlanta, McCarthy seems a ready made replacement to step in and lead an offense loaded with some of the league’s top receiving talent. The Vikings have the 11st and 23rd pick which I project them using to trade with the Chargers and make McCarthy their man.

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