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New England Patriots

New England Patriots

After winning the National Championship, Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy is on to the NFL. The least-experienced of the top quarterbacks in this draft, the projections on him have quite the range – from the top 10 to outside of the top 100.

J.J. McCarthy scouting report

Nov 4, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) in the second half against the Purdue Boilermakers at Michigan Stadium. Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 4, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) in the second half against the Purdue Boilermakers at Michigan Stadium. Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports


College: Michigan

Age: 21

Height: 6’3

Weight: 202

Awards: All-Big Ten First Team (2023), All-Big Ten Second Team (2022)

McCarthy was a four-star recruit coming out of IMG Academy, and the sixth-ranked quarterback in the Class of 2019. He played in mop-up roles as a freshman, then won the starting job in camp his sophomore year.

In his two full seasons as a starter McCarthy went 27-1, leading the Wolverines to two College Playoff Appearances. He led the sixth-highest scoring offense in the nation in 2022, when the 14th-highest last year. After this year’s Rose Bowl win, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh called him “the greatest quarterback in University of Michigan—college football history…in a college career there’s been nobody at Michigan better than J.J.”

For more player breakdowns, scouting reports, and all things 2024 NFL Draft, check out the 98.5 The Sports Hub Draft Hub page

  • Stats

    Year School Conf Class G(S) Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Rate
    2021 Michigan Big Ten FR 11(0) 34 59 57.6 516 8.7 5 2 152.3
    2022 Michigan Big Ten SO 14(13) 208 322 64.6 2719 8.4 22 5 155.0
    2023 Michigan Big Ten JR 15(15) 240 332 72.3 2991 9.0 22 4 167.4
    Career 40(28) 482 713 67.6 6226 8.7 49 11 160.5
    Year School Conf Class G Att Yds Avg TD
    2021 Michigan Big Ten FR 11 27 124 4.6 2
    2022 Michigan Big Ten SO 14 70 306 4.4 5
    2023 Michigan Big Ten JR 15 64 202 3.2 3
    Career 40 161 632 3.9 10
  • Strengths

    — Has an NFL quarterback frame, but will need to grow into it

    — His athleticism should allow him to be a factor with his legs at the next level

    — Throws well on the run

    — Can throw from multiple arm angles

    — Just turned 21 in late January, has plenty of time to grow his game

  • Weaknesses

    — Inexperienced. 28 starts are among the fewest of the projected top-100 quarterbacks

    — Wasn’t asked to do much in the context of Michigan’s star-studded offense. Attempted just 22.1 passes per game in 2023 including many one-read, quick release designs. This was especially prevalent against top competition.

    — Accuracy is inconsistent

    — Doesn’t always read the field with conviction

    — Can zip the ball when needed, but doesn’t have a reliable touch pass right now

  • Video breakdown

  • Player comparisons

    Ceiling: Brock Purdy

    Middle: Marcus Mariota

    Floor: Zach Wilson

  • Bottom line

    If you feel strongly about McCarthy’s standing as a prospect – one way or the other – you’re probably kidding yourself. There’s just not close to enough high-impact reps on tape to fully evaluate where he’s at as a player relative to most quarterback prospects. He certainly has upside, especially with his young age and athleticism, but he still needs time to develop. Whatever team drafts him will need to have a strong development plan in place, and a willingness to be patient. A team that has a veteran (read: old) starter in place but will need a new quarterback in a year or two would be the best landing spot for him, setting up a Patrick Mahomes/Jordan Love type development path (not a player comp, more of a ‘path to starting’ comp).

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].

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