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2024 Draft Profile: JJ McCarthy

Updated: Apr 8

Age: 21 years

Height: 6' 2.5"

Weight: 219 lb.

Hand: 9"

Arm: 31 5/8"

3-cone drill: 6.82s

20-yd shuttle: 4.23s

Easily the most polarizing quarterback prospect of the 2024 class is reigning national champion JJ McCarthy. As a two-year starter for Michigan including playoffs, McCarthy boasts a 28-1 record and has never lost in the regular season. Granted, he did have a powerhouse of a team built around him, but a team does not win that often with inadequate play at the quarterback position. McCarthy’s passing numbers are by no means gaudy, and in a Jim Harbaugh offense, they were never meant to be. He played in an offense that won football games on the ground and his role was to play consistent and mistake free football when his number was called. 

When watching McCarthy play there is a lot to like. His most translatable skill he displays is an ability to deliver accurate passes in traffic specifically in the middle of the field. The Michigan offense as a whole was a well-orchestrated machine and McCarthy thrives by executing the throws that are drawn up for him. The scheme naturally created massive windows for him to throw into and more times than not he was delivering an accurate pass to his first read target. McCarthy also posses enough athleticism and mobility to function as a modern-day NFL QB where every team is looking for that duel threat. Although in the NFL I would not expect him to be used as a rusher by design, designed QB rushes were a large part of the Michigan offense, and he is very capable of escaping a pocket quickly. McCarthy does his best work through rhythm and timing, but also has shown an impressive ability to throw in unnatural positions like across his body and fading away from pressure. 

There are some apparent areas of concern for McCarthy as well. Most concerning for me is his overall body of work. Simply put, McCarthy was not asked to do all that much, and his passing numbers suffered as a result. He just has not been tested as a passer in the same way some of the other top QBs in this class have been. That being said, he has risen to the bar that was set for him. His propensity to throw to the middle of the field also seems like it could be from a discomfort for throwing outside. His accuracy diminishes on the boundaries. McCarthy also is known for a strong arm, but he lacks finesse at times. It’s important for a QB to be able to apply appropriate touch to each pass and McCarthy prefers to send every ball with heat. That can and has caused his receivers disruption in timing and has resulted in some drops. I also have concerns about his ability to create beyond his first read. At Michigan more times than not plays worked exactly as planned, and McCarthy seemed to struggle when a play would break down. I don’t think he moved off his first read quickly enough and when he did, rather than continuing through a passing progression he would scramble into some tough situations. He will need to continue to work on his vision to be successful in the NFL. 

As a prospect I think McCarthy SHOULD be drafted at the end of the 1st round of the NFL draft but based off of necessity at the position I think he WILL be drafted much earlier. In order to be successful McCarthy will need an offense that allows him to win by scheme rather than relying on him to create plays. Think San Fransisco or Miami as the template. As a player comparison McCarthy reminds me of pre-injury Carson Wentz. A player that can thrive in the right situation or can fall on his face given the wrong offense and supporting cast. The odds-on favorite landing spot of the Minnesota Vikings seems like a very good match. For fantasy purposes I have McCarthy firmly as my 1.08 in Superflex leagues and in a tier of his own as the QB4 of the class.  

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