April 13, 2024

Rookie Spotlight 2024: JJ McCarthy

4 min read

JJ McCarthy, a very popular name after last week’s NFL Combine, is shaking up draft boards across the nation. After posting up the sixth-best time across ALL players in the 3-cone drill and having multiple of his throws go viral on social media, McCarthy could be a potential top-10 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Let’s find out if the National Champion has what it takes to compete at the next level:

  • School Year: Junior
  • Age: 21 years old
  • Physical Stats: 6’2.5”, 219 lbs
  • Combine 3-cone drill time: 6.82s (sixth best overall this year at the Combine)
  • Led Michigan to the 2023 CFB National Championship

STRENGTHS

McCarthy is a proven winner, going 27-1 at Michigan as a starter over two years. In 2022, he beat out Cade McNamara for the starting job and never looked back. In McCarthy's junior year, Michigan went 15-0 (a school record) and won the CFB National Championship, the first for Michigan since 1997. He threw for 2,991 yards with a 72.3% completion rate.

McCarthy had a modest 22:4 touchdown touchdown-to-interception ratio and rushed for 202 rushing yards with three rushing TDs. After watching his gameplay, it’s easy to see that McCarthy has the arm strength to push the ball down the field when needed.

McCarthy's combine performance showed his consistency in short to medium throws across the middle of the field. He’s also shown the ability to make throws on the run and deliver the ball on rollouts with efficiency and accuracy. McCarthy's ability to scramble is underrated, and he isn’t afraid to take a hit while on the run and about to make a throw.

He also has a strong pocket presence. McCarthy is able to use his size to make throws down the field, particularly against zone coverage. Additionally, because McCarthy worked against Ex-NFL (who has now returned to the NFL) Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, McCarthy has experience working in a pro-style passing scheme that will translate well at the professional level.

WEAKNESSES

It’s no secret that the Michigan offense was very run-heavy. Having the two-headed rushing attack of Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards took a lot of the pressure off McCarthy. Most NFL analysts’ major complaint with the Michigan QB is the fact that they haven’t seen enough of him.

Analysts have called McCarthy a very “polarizing” draft prospect as he has many of the intangibles a QB needs but has played most of his college career in a controlled system with a strong run game to support him.

TOP 3 LANDING SPOTS

NEW YORK GIANTS

Rumors have stemmed from the NFL Combine that the New York Giants spent a lot of time interviewing J.J. McCarthy. According to McCarthy himself, they did a deep dive into his football knowledge, even allowing him to draw up plays.

It’s no secret that the first year of the Daniel Jones four-year, $160 million extension didn’t pan out for the Giants as they had hoped. The Giants’ front office has concerns about Jones’ health, as he is currently recovering from a torn ACL.

The Giants currently have the sixth overall pick in the NFL draft and could be looking to use that pick on McCarthy.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

The Vikings lost Kirk Cousins in free agency — he signed a four-year, $180 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons. If Minnesota can’t trade into the top 3, they might settle on JJ McCarthy.

If he gets drafted by the Vikings, McCarthy will have a very strong WR core of Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison. We will have to wait to see how aggressive the Vikings are before the draft.

DENVER BRONCOS

The Denver Broncos released Russell Wilson last week, so the team will also be without their veteran QB. Denver is searching for their new QB, and there have been reports that Head Coach Sean Payton has shown a large interest in JJ McCarthy, who raved about his visit with the Broncos at the NFL Combine.

FANTASY OUTLOOK

JJ McCarthy’s fantasy outlook is a medium floor with increased upside. He has experience running a professional-style offense under Harbaugh which will translate well at the next level.

A lot of McCarthy's value will come down to which team takes a chance on him and the weapons he is surrounded with. He’s currently going at the end of the first/beginning of the second round in mock drafts. I believe McCarthy's value will only rise as we get closer to the draft, especially if he ends up being a top-5 pick.


If you want to read more about JJ McCarthy, we've been talking about him for a few months in our Devy Digest series.

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