Is Jim Harbaugh Eyeing JJ McCarthy in 2024 NFL Draft?

Is Jim Harbaugh Eyeing JJ McCarthy in 2024 NFL Draft?

Is Jim Harbaugh thinking of drafting JJ McCarthy?

Jim Harbaugh’s comments at the NFL Owner’s Meeting got some fans thinking that he may be considering JJ McCarthy to the be the Chargers quarterback.

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The 2024 NFL Draft is less than a month away as fans and media alike heat up debate about which team should draft specific players. The Chicago Bearsowners of the No. 1 overall pick, seem primed to select quarterback Caleb Williamseven with the recent social media reaction to video of Williams with painted nails and a pink phone.

But he won’t be the first signal-caller hearing his name said on the draft broadcast early. The latest mock drafts from USA Today’s experts Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz and Nate Davis agree that Williams will be the first of a record-tying number of quarterbacks selected in the first dozen picks. The biggest intrigue surrounds one team in particular: the Minnesota Vikings.

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2024 NFL mock drafts: Minnesota Vikings’ trade targets

The Vikings announced their intentions in trading two second-round picks to the Houston Texans for the No. 23 overall pick. That gives Minnesota No. 11 and No. 23 in the first round of April’s draft. Free agent signing Sam Darnold is the current starter at quarterback but he’s there on a one-year deal. All signs point to Minnesota looking to trade up for an upgrade following Kirk Cousin’s departure to Atlanta.

Both mock drafts predict the Vikings will trade up to the top four picks of the first round to select a quarterback. The method is similar but the result is slightly different. Middlehurst-Schwartz predicts the Vikings will trade up to No. 4 and select Michigan‘s J.J. McCarthy; Davis thinks they’ll be more aggressive and trade up to No.3 and select North Carolina‘s Drake Maye.

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Either option makes sense. In the first scenario, the Arizona Cardinals already have their guy at quarterback (Kyler Murray) so they won’t need one of the top prospects. Most mock drafts have them taking the top non-quarterback of the draft – often Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. – but that could change. The first three quarterbacks are off the board by No. 4 in this scenario, leaving McCarthy for the Vikings.

McCarthy needs to develop more but has shown productive flashes as a starter with Michigan. He drives the ball consistently, isn’t afraid of throwing over the middle, and has the athleticism to execute throws on sprint-outs or bootlegs that the Kyle Shanahan-tree coaches, including the Vikings’ Kevin O’Connell, use often.

In the second scenario, the New England Patriots are in a full rebuild with a new head coach (Jerod Mayo) and new de facto general manager (Eliot Wolf). Two top-25 draft picks in a loaded class on offense could be a huge upgrade. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett signed a one-year deal in free agency and provides the Patriots a very capable starter on the roster ahead of the draft.

Compared to McCarthy, Maye is bigger, faster, and has a stronger arm. His traits draw comparisons to Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert and he can create as a scrambler more than McCarthy. He’d need time to adjust to the Vikings’ playbook given what he ran in North Carolina but could provide a higher ceiling than McCarthy at this point.

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2024 NFL mock drafts: Record-tying first round quarterbacks

In both mock drafts, four quarterbacks go in the first six picks. The mock drafts agree on the first two selections: Williams at No. 1 to the Bears and LSU’s Jayden Daniels at No. 2 to the Washington Commanders.

In Middlehurst-Schwartz’s draft, Maye goes No. 3 to the Patriots. The Vikings’ trade makes it five quarterbacks in a row with McCarthy at No. 4. In Davis’ draft, the Vikings’ trade means Maye goes No. 3 again but McCarthy goes at No. 6 to the New York Giants.

But the two mock drafts agree at No. 12: Oregon quarterback Bo Nix going to the Denver Broncos. Though he doesn’t offer the upside of the top four quarterbacks, Nix tied the record for single-season completion percentage last fall with the Ducks. His mobility and experience (an FBS-record 61 career starts at quarterback) give him a solid floor and could be an upgrade over the Broncos’ current quarterbacks.

Five quarterbacks have been taken in the first 12 selections of the NFL Draft just once in 1999. In that class, quarterbacks were drafted at:

  • No. 1, Tim Couch to the Cleveland Browns
  • No. 2, Donovan McNabb to the Philadelphia Eagles
  • No. 3, Akili Smith to the Cincinnati Bengals
  • No. 11, Daunte Culpepper to the Minnesota Vikings
  • No. 12, Cade McNown to the Chicago Bears

If these mock drafts are right, the 2024 NFL Draft would tie history in that and make history with the number of offensive players taken in the first round. The current record is 19 and Middlehurst-Schwartz predicts 22 offensive players go in the first round while Davis predicts 21 of the first 32 selections will be on offense.

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2024 NFL mock drafts: Latest risers and fallers

Beyond a rush at quarterback, these two mock drafts point to a couple of players seeing their stock rise and fall.

Riser: LSU wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr.

Thomas Jr. sees a big bump in the latest mocks. Thomas Jr. is widely expected to go after fellow LSU wideout Malik Nabers but still led the FBS in receiving touchdowns (17) in 2023. With his size at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, speed, and catch radius make him a first-round caliber talent. In Middlehurst-Schwartz’s mock draft, he goes early at No. 11 overall to the Cardinals. Even though Arizona traded down in that scenario, they still get a very good wide receiver prospect for Murray and the offense.

Riser: Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell

Mitchell is the second defensive player taken in the first round of both mock drafts. He was by far the best player on defense this season for Toledo and backed up the tape with a great showing at the Senior Bowl and a very good performance at the NFL Combine. Middlehurst-Schwartz put him at No. 15 overall to the Indianapolis Colts and Davis had him at No. 13 to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Faller: Florida State defensive end Jared Verse

Verse was often in the conversation for the first 15 selections as one of the best defensive line prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft. Now, the mock drafts have him falling to the Los Angeles Rams at No. 19 (Middlehurst-Schwartz) and the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 20 (Davis) after a trade.

Verse sets the edge against the run, can use speed or power in pass rush scenarios, and has plenty of production from college with 29 tackles for loss and 18 sacks in 25 games with the Seminoles. He’d be a great value pick after the top 15 selections.

Faller: Georgia offensive tackle Amarius Mims

Mims is one of the most intriguing players in the 2024 NFL Draft. He measured in at a massive 6 feet, 8 inches tall and 340 pounds at the NFL Combine but ran a 5.07-second 40-yard dash. He only has eight starts on his resume from Georgia due to the talented program in Athens but played very well in those starts.

His rare mix of size and athleticism makes him a high-ceiling prospect who could develop into the best tackle in this class. That’s why it’s a surprise to see him fall to the Baltimore Ravens at No. 30 overall in both mock drafts. If he’s still there that late, Ravens fans and their two-time MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson should be excited.

2024-03-29 12:03:19
#Vikings #trade #quarterback #latest #update

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