Rising Star: Is Jim Harbaugh Eyeing Michigan’s JJ McCarthy in the NFL Draft?

Rising Star: Is Jim Harbaugh Eyeing Michigan’s JJ McCarthy in the NFL Draft?

The Michigan signal-caller is rising up draft boards since winning the national championship.

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.

Sports Seriously

The 2024 NFL Draft is less than a month away as more colleges finish up their pro days and NFL teams continue finalizing their draft boards. A star-studded crop of talent is heading into the league this year, especially at key positions like offensive tackle, wide receiver, and quarterback.

USC quarterback Caleb Williams is widely considered the heavy favorite for the No. 1 overall pick to the Chicago Bears. After that, there’s debate about how to rank the trio of Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, North Carolina’s Drake Mayeand LSU’s Jayden Daniels. McCarthy’s been rising up draft boards since the Wolverines won the national championship in January.

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Here’s why he could be one of the first players to hear his name called – and where experts think he’ll go:

Why J.J. McCarthy could be a first-round pick

Despite winning a national championship and going 27-1 as a starter in college, McCarthy’s considered a less polished prospect than the other top quarterbacks. He’s the youngest of the group and only started 28 games in college, two more than Maye but less than Williams (33) and Daniels (55).

His stats are a lot less than the rest of that group of quarterbacks:

NameCompletionsAttemptsYardsTDINTRatingJ.J. McCarthy4827136,2264911160.5Caleb Williams7351,09910,0829314169.3Drake Maye6189528,0186316154.1Jayden Daniels9531,43812,7508920158.4

But much of that lack of production was due to Michigan’s power running philosophy. The Wolverines were built with a strong offensive line and ran the ball effectively with Blake Choir (1,245 yards and 27 touchdowns) as well as Donovan Edwards (497 and five). Michigan didn’t rely on McCarthy for production like LSU did with Daniels or USC with Williams.

That’s not to say he didn’t make highlight-level throws in key situations, like this one in the national championship game:

He brings an NFL-caliber arm and solid athleticism (he ran a 4.6-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine) to the table as a prospect. He has the size teams want – 6 feet, 2 inches tall and 219 pounds – in order to handle hits in the pocket. He’s shown flashes throughout his career of plus-level quarterback play. At just 21 years old, he could develop into a good starter in a pass-first NFL offense.

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His potential for development is a big reason why many draft experts predict teams will trade up for the La Grange Park, Ill. native.

J.J. McCarthy 2024 NFL mock draft predictions

There’s mixed feelings on where specifically he’ll go but there is a consensus: McCarthy is a top-10 selection this April.

Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA TODAY: No. 4 overall to the Minnesota Vikings (via trade with the Arizona Cardinals)

“A bold move for both sides in this potential trade, to be sure. For Arizona, there’s risk in dropping too far back – perhaps out of range of the elite receivers in this class. Minnesota, meanwhile, would be mortgaging its future for a shot at perhaps its fourth choice at quarterback. Yet after picking up that extra first-rounder in the trade with the Texans, the Vikings might be positioning themselves to do just that. While McCarthy is proving to be quite the polarizing prospect in draft circles, landing in a spot where he could be mentored by Kevin O’Connell and sling the ball to Justin Jefferson might be the best-case scenario for his development.”

Nate Davis, USA TODAY: No. 6 overall to the New York Giants

“Yes, QB Daniel Jones is still in the Jersey swamps, and the G-Men just signed Drew Lock to a one-year deal. No matter. Despite his relatively low usage in the passing game at Ann Arbor – where he was surrounded by a tremendous supporting cast on both sides of the ball – McCarthy’s stock seems to continue skyrocketing. Why? Demeanor, accuracy, leadership, athleticism, high ceiling, exquisite – yes – game management. And he’s a winner (27-1 record with the Wolverines). This situation would also make sense insomuch as McCarthy could redshirt behind Lock and Jones, whom the Giants can easily cut next offseason – or trade if he plays well in Year 2 of his four-year, $160 million contract. And given what Fields had to cope with in Chicago, why not take McCarthy and keep the shrink wrap on until GM Joe Schoen can get Big Blue’s supporting cast in order?”

ESPN: No. 4 overall to the Denver Broncos (via trade with the Cardinals)

Matt Miller says: “McCarthy is a tough, instinctive and accurate quarterback with above-average mobility and great play from the pocket. I’m not saying he’s Drew Brees, but the style of play would fit very well with what Payton ran in New Orleans. McCarthy is relatively inexperienced with just 28 starts in college, but he left Michigan with a 27-1 record. He completed 72.1% of his passes and threw only four picks last season, and his third-down QBR of 86.7 was 11th-best in the nation. McCarthy would be a sure bet to beat out Jarrett Stidham and start Week 1 for Denver.”

Yahoo Sports: No. 3 overall to the Vikings (via trade with the New England Patriots)

Charles McDonald writes: “The first big trade of the draft, with the Vikings moving up to secure their guy for the future. McCarthy is a bit of a Rorschach test, but he’s viewed highly by teams and the Vikings have a huge need after losing Kirk Cousins to the Falcons. McCarthy would be walking into a great situation for him to actualize his talent, but he still has a long way to go.”

2024-03-28 11:09:04
#NFL #mock #drafts #project #highly #McCarthy


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