by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Michigan Athletics.
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Michigan, Quarterback, J.J. McCarthy
Name- J.J. McCarthy
HT/WT- 6’3” 202 lbs.
Home – La Grange Park, IL
J.J. McCarthy started his high school career at Nazareth Academy and then finished up by transferring to the IMG Academy during the Covid-19 season. Overall, he finished his high school career throwing for 7,905 yards and 94 touchdowns, while going 36-2 as a starter. 247Sports named him a 5-star recruit and the no. 2 pro-style quarterback in the country. He committed to Michigan over offers from 33 other schools.
He appeared in 11 games as a backup quarterback to Cade McNamara and threw for 516 yards and 5 touchdowns with 2 interceptions in his limited time. He flashed his mobility running for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns and shared the team's Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Last season, he appeared in 14 games, starting 13 and became Michigan’s starting signal caller. He completed 64.6% of his passes totaling 2,719 yards and 22 touchdowns, to go along with only 5 interceptions. Once again, McCarthy was a dual-threat running for 306 yards and 5 touchdowns.
This season, McCarthy has been firing on all cylinders for the 7-0 Wolverines. He has completed 78.2% of his passes and has thrown for 1,512 yards, to go along with 14 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He has also totaled 160 yards and 3 touchdowns this season and has been a handful for defenses to defend.
McCarthy has a strong arm and can place passes into tight windows with laser accuracy. He has the mobility to take advantage of the open field and defenses need to pay attention to his escapability as a dual threat quarterback. His footwork is exceptional and he buys himself time by changing angles with his agility. He is proficient at play actions and is exceptional at throwing on the run. His decision making has continually improved at Michigan, and he will throw a ball away instead of taking a risk. His size and mechanics are NFL ready and he uses his eyes to look off safeties with frequency.
McCarthy can make all NFL throws, but he does go through bouts where his accuracy is head scratching. He has missed wide open receivers at times and tends to get jittery when being rushed up the middle. Pre-snap reads tend to be slow or non-existent and he struggles at deciphering complex defenses. He is the leader of a run dominated team and gets some easy throws due because teams load the box with 8 men at times. In the NFL, he will have to do a lot more navigating of defenses in pre-snap reads and deal with more routes and receivers in his progressions. His deep passes sometimes have a bit of loft to them, giving the defensive backs a chance to make a play on the ball. Though 6’3”, he is lighter than he needs to be in the pros and may need to find a way to add some weight before the draft.
J.J. McCarthy reminds Draft 412 of New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones. McCarthy is more mobile but both have led similar collegiate careers. Draft 412 believes that McCarthy may struggle at the beginning of his NFL career as Jones has, but has a higher ceiling than the Crimson Tide quarterback.
Throw on the run
Pre snap reads
J.J. McCarthy has been skyrocketing up draft boards and is now on the edge of being a first round pick. Draft 412 wants to see how he performs against stout defenses like Ohio State and Penn State. McCarthy should be a 2nd round pick in a deep quarterback class.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction - 2nd round