J.J. McCarthy, the quarterback for the University of Michigan, could not have asked for a more ideal conclusion to his collegiate career.
The 20-year-old signal caller guided Michigan to three consecutive Big Ten titles and College Football Playoff berths before declaring for the 2024 NFL Draft. He also bookended a 27-1 run as the team’s starter, during which he threw for 6,226 yards, 49 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. The win was the Wolverines’ first national championship since 1997.
The exact position of McCarthy among the best prospects in the 2024 class is a topic of debate among draft analysts; ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. ranked McCarthy as his biggest wild-card quarterback pick. However, The Athletic’s Dane Brugler recently revealed McCarthy’s projected destination based on information he has heard in league circles.
McCarthy has above-average mobility and an NFL arm, making him a projectable physical tool, according to Brungler. Because of his competitive toughness, retention, and recall, scouts frequently cite his intangibles as a compelling selling point for their coaches. … McCarthy is anticipated to be selected in the top 50 picks, according to NFL feedback; the question is, how early? Which of the top 25 teams is smitten with his long-term outlook?.
Assessing McCarthy’s ability to translate his college game skills to the NFL is the most difficult aspect of the projection process. This season McCarthy hardly played into the fourth quarter because Michigan blew out so many teams.
Scouts are most concerned about whether McCarthy can lead a team on his own or if he is merely a product of playing for quarterback guru Jim Harbaugh.
Caleb Williams of USC, Drake Maye of North Carolina, and Jayden Daniels of LSU are projected to be the top three quarterbacks selected—probably with the top three picks—leaving McCarthy, Michael Penix Jr. of Washington, and Bo Nix of Oregon available for QB-hungry teams like the Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos, and Las Vegas Raiders to draft outside of the top 10.