NFL Draft Rumors: J.J. McCarthy a Top-3 Pick? Former NFL Exec Says He Wouldn’t Be Surprised

While speculation has grown about J.J. McCarthy going in the top five of the 2024 NFL Draft, one former executive believes he could even be a top-three pick.

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy is one of the most polarizing players in the 2024 NFL Draft.

While his overall arm strength and tape may not compare to some of the rookie class, McCarthy’s leadership, intangibles, and athleticism make him an intriguing prospect for many NFL scouts and executives.

One former executive thinks the CFP National Championship-winning quarterback may even hear his name called far earlier than expected.

Former NFL GM Thinks J.J. McCarthy Could Go Top-3

On ESPN’s Friday edition of Get Up, former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum defended the notion that the Michigan signal-caller could potentially find his name called within the top three picks of the NFL Draft.

“I’m not surprised at all, I think he deserves it. If he went second or third, I wouldn’t be surprised,” Tannenbaum stated. “When you talk to teams around the league, I think 60% of them say Caleb [Williams] goes first, Jayden Daniels goes second. When you get into the Drake Maye or J.J. McCarthy (discussion), I think Maye has the lead, but I wouldn’t be surprised.”

In three seasons with the Wolverines, McCarthy threw for over 6,000 career yards, 49 touchdown passes, and a completion percentage of over 67%. What he does on the field, though, pales in comparison to who he is as a person, according to Tannenbaum.

“I’ve seen him practice behind Cade McNamara. He’s lost one game as a starter … he has character and leadership beyond reproach,” the former league executive explained. “He’s learned how to manage the game. What are we missing here?”

McCarthy went 10-for-18 passing in the CFP National Championship game against Washington while adding 31 yards on the ground. Michigan won its first national title since 1997 in a 34-13 beatdown.

Since that game, McCarthy’s draft stock has only skyrocketed to the point where many expect the quarterback to be a top-five pick. Now, the conversation may be had to move him into the top three.

Is McCarthy Worth a Top-3 Pick?

The debate on whether McCarthy deserves top-three consideration is an interesting one. So much so that we’ve enlisted PFN’s own Ian Cummings to offer his scouting take on whether Michigan’s quarterback is worthy of his draft status.

Here’s what our draft expert had to say.

KEEP READING: 2024 NFL Draft Odds — Which Teams Could Draft J.J. McCarthy?

“Asking whether or not J.J. McCarthy is worth the second or third overall pick is a two-pronged venture. As a prospect, he’s my QB4 behind Daniels, and he’s safely behind my top two QB prospects: Maye and Williams.

Every evaluation is different, of course — but on tape, there is more left to be desired from McCarthy. His field vision, processing ability, and decision-making all run hot and cold, and he’s one of the more inconsistent deep passers of the top QB group. His arm isn’t quite at the level of Williams or Maye, nor is his creation ability and instinct.

That said, it’s also easy to see why teams like McCarthy. At just 21 years old, he has very smooth, efficient throwing mechanics, and he can operate within the structure of the offense. He’s a plus athlete with a loose, elastic arm and stellar off-platform throwing ability. He flashes high-level anticipation and risk propensity over the middle, and every behind-the-scenes review his character comes back glowingly.

So for the first question: As a prospect, is McCarthy worth it? He might not be any more worth the risk than Maye or Daniels. But the second question: Can an NFL team succeed with him at the helm, if properly supported and incubated? Teams do have reason to feel secure about McCarthy within that lens. That combination of security and upside might win teams over, in fact.”

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