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    J.J. McCarthy’s Draft Profile | Michigan, QB Scouting Report

    Is J.J. McCarthy the next Michigan QB to start in the NFL? As McCarthy's 2024 NFL Draft scouting report details, he has the physical talent.

    Past Caleb Williams and Drake Maye, the 2024 NFL Draft QB class is wide open. With his scouting report, can Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy fight to be the third passer selected, and could he grow to become a franchise QB for an NFL team? Let’s dive in and discuss.

    J.J. McCarthy’s Draft Profile and Measurements

    • Height: 6’2 1/2″
    • Weight: 219 pounds
    • Length: 31 5/8″
    • Wingspan: 75 7/8″
    • Hand: 9″
    • Position: Quarterback
    • School: Michigan
    • Current Year: Junior

    Chad Henne was drafted in the 2008 NFL Draft. Jake Rudock was selected in 2016. If the eight-year pattern holds, McCarthy will be Michigan’s next QB selection in the 2024 NFL Draft cycle.

    Michigan passers have always naturally had a high standard to meet ever since Tom Brady emerged as an all-time great at the NFL level. It’s important never to helmet scout, but looking at McCarthy’s physical ability, he could be the next Wolverines QB to earn a chance as an NFL starter.

    McCarthy signed with Michigan as a high four-star recruit and saw action as a true freshman while sharing reps with Cade McNamara.

    In 2022, McCarthy took the full-time starting job and completed 208 of 322 attempts (64.6%) for 2,719 yards, 22 touchdowns, and just five picks while adding 306 yards and five scores on the ground.

    McCarthy’s production as an underclassman was extremely promising, and he exceeded it in 2023, completing 230 of 314 attempts (73.2%) for 2,851 yards, 22 touchdowns, and four picks.

    Over that two-year span, McCarthy went 27-1 as a starter, won two Big Ten Championships, and helped lead his Wolverines to the CFB National Championship game in 2023.

    It goes without saying that McCarthy has wins and losses on his side. NFL evaluators who value “winners” at the collegiate level will have McCarthy near the top of their board, and his talent is undeniable.

    At the NFL Combine, McCarthy participated in throwing drills and showed off his easy velocity drive. Not only that, but he weighed in at a healthy 219 pounds — over 10 pounds heavier than his college weight — and he still put up a 6.82 three-cone time in the 96th percentile.

    Whether it’s athleticism, arm talent, pedigree, youth, or collegiate success — McCarthy checks every box he needs to check on the surface. But does he have the composite profile to break into Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft?

    J.J. McCarthy Scouting Report

    Strengths

    • Has the whip-like velocity to fit throws past extremely tight coverage at all ranges.
    • Can throw high-velocity ropes with little strain and has a crisp, right-angle release.
    • Uses sidearm and obtuse underhand releases to protect throwing windows from threats.
    • Superb athlete and creator with high-level speed, agility, and evasive explosiveness.
    • Adaptable in the pocket and improved his poise and navigation in congestion in 2023.
    • Can use short-area agility, flexibility, and burst to snake through tiny pocket creases.
    • Generally has good aerial accuracy, routinely giving his receivers a chance to make plays.
    • Can beautifully layer velocity and touch on seam throws to hit receivers in stride.
    • Able to lead WRs low on tight intermediate crossers to negate looming contact threats.
    • Mechanically sound QB with good hip rotation, level shoulders, and full energy channels.
    • Has shown he can look off safeties and then take what’s given in the short range.
    • Flashes stellar anticipation and risk propensity on tight-window, middle-of-field throws.
    • Able to work high to low on progressions, peel off vertical routes, and trigger on reads.
    • Can quickly process velocity and leverage mismatches in the deep third, triggering early.
    • Has good baseline competitive toughness as a runner and is willing to finish forward.

    Weaknesses

    • Weight at Michigan was lighter than average, which contributed to lacking play strength.
    • Pressure threats can cause him to drop his eyes, hesitate, and pause mid-release.
    • Sometimes inexplicably drifts into pressure and can be more disciplined with positioning.
    • Will sometimes predetermine throws and force passes against tight coverage.
    • Occasionally fails to see looming LBs on short passes, calling field vision into question.
    • Struggles to process deep crossing patterns and diagnose proper throw trajectories.
    • At times, forces ill-advised throws in collapsing situations when he should throw it away.
    • Can be more consistent using controlled shoulder tilt and layering to add loft on throws.
    • Situational precision, while good, can be more consistent over the middle of the field.
    • On occasion, tugs his release too wide and pushes passes too far above his targets.
    • Can still be a bit uncontrolled and frantic at the top of his drop, affecting base width.
    • Benefitted from his surroundings at Michigan and wasn’t always asked to elevate team.

    Current Draft Projection and Summary

    McCarthy grades out as a top-25 prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft. He’s a contender for QB3 alongside LSU’s Jayden Daniels. Williams and Maye are separated as the top QB prospects, but McCarthy is in the next tier down, and with his profile and youth, he could command early first-round capital.

    A tremendous physical foundation is what buoys McCarthy’s profile in the first-round range. Though he sports a leaner build, he’s a high-level athlete and a high-level creator with an extremely loose and elastic arm.

    His combined evasive ability, flexibility, and off-platform torque expand the possibilities with him on the field, and as a thrower, he has the ease of velocity and angle freedom to make all the throws.


    Far more than once, McCarthy reassured onlookers with his development in 2023, showing improved pocket poise, mechanical rhythm, decision-making, and active anticipation and field manipulation.

    While McCarthy is better now than he was heading out of 2022, lapses on the operational side still occur. He’s still not quite as consistent as preferred as a processor and decision-maker, and it’s worth wondering if he’s ready to elevate an NFL squad as a franchise quarterback.

    All this being said, McCarthy progressed in 2023 and helped his team win, and he’s always been a natural thrower. His natural mechanical feel culminates in good general accuracy as well — all traits that are emboldened by McCarthy’s NFL starter-grade tools.

    For NFL teams, the most important part of McCarthy’s evaluation might be his age. He’s still just 21 years old, while Michael Penix Jr., Bo Nix, and Daniels will all be 24 years old, or turn 24, as NFL rookies.

    Factoring in McCarthy’s youth and combining it with his talent and operational flashes, he has a strong case to contend to be QB3 of the 2024 NFL Draft.

    In the right scheme — one that gives McCarthy easy solutions early on while also playing to his primary strengths of arm talent, creation capacity, and fearlessness over the middle — he can be an early NFL starter, with impact starter upside.

    Draft with your friends today! PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator now supports multiple drafters during the same draft! Ensure your player rankings are up to date on the 2024 NFL Draft Big Board and you know what every NFL team needs before drafting.

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