JJ McCarthy Draft Profile
Michigan Quarterback, JJ McCarthy, is entering the draft after winning the National Championship as a true Junior. In his two seasons starting for Michigan, he was named either first or second team all big ten in both years. Born and raised in the outskirts of Chicago, McCarthy played three seasons at Nazareth Academy before transferring to IMG Academy in his senior year. Standing at 6’3 200 lbs., McCarthy has average size for an NFL quarterback and doesn’t look to have any physical limitations due to his stature. As a starter, McCarthy finished his career with just one loss compared to 27 wins. McCarthy is a winner and looks to bring that same pedigree with him to the NFL.
The first thing most scouts look at when assessing quarterbacks is their natural arm talent; McCarthy has a good arm and has very good mechanics. Rotationally, his ability to throw off platform while maintaining both his accuracy and velocity is very impressive. When rolling out, his shoulders stay squared to the line of scrimmage which keeps him in a “pre-pass position”. McCarthy is able to fit balls into tight windows and is extremely intentional with his ball placement on the first and second levels of the field. As an athlete, McCarthy is capable of running the ball and is a threat to pull it at all times. While he may not have the breakaway speed that a guy like Jayden Daniels has, McCarthy is still a good athlete that defenses must respect as a runner. My favorite part of McCarthy’s game is his lower half as a thrower. He has very good feet; they are almost always connected to the ground which allows him to reset his base and be quick to fire. His ability to play outside of the pocket is extremely underrated; in the NFL, McCarthy will surprise people with his ability to play outside of structure.
When it comes to the mental aspect of the game, McCarthy is well put together. Leading up to the game, McCarthy is on the field, barefoot, visualizing and mediating about what is going to take place. I think he is well beyond his age when it comes to finding ways to deal with the pressure of the position. On the field, he is super decisive in the quick game and tough when having to stand in the pocket. With that being said, he is extremely passive and willing to turn down the deep ball. The Wolverines were talented enough to move the ball downfield without having explosives, but that is hard to replicate in the NFL. While McCarthy is a good scrambler and can make plays with his legs, he tends to look at the line of scrimmage and search for gaps when escaping rather than just “feeling it”. This leads to missed opportunities downfield against defensive lines that are discipline in their gaps. For the most part, McCarthy rarely puts the ball into harms way. His 22:4 touchdown to interception ratio reflects that; however, McCarthy doesn’t always see underneath and robber defenders. While he is super accurate over the middle of the field, he will occasionally give defenses opportunities because he simply doesn’t see hole defenders. In the NFL, defenses that run both middle field closed coverages and simulated pressures will cause him problems if he continues to be confused by peeling defenders.
McCarthy is a unique prospect; he reminds me of a faster Jimmy Garoppolo. He is a winner who is extremely efficient with his mechanics, plays with a great base, and is confident on the second level; however, his passiveness and inability to see underneath defenders may prevent him from ultimately being a champion in the NFL. II believe he fits a move-the-pocket scheme that stretches the field horizontally, but it is pivotal for him to have a coach that encourages him to be more of a risk-taker. Alex Smith told a story about Andy Reid and how he would always say, “when in doubt, go deep”. It would be beneficial for McCarthy to have a coach who has played the position and gives him confidence to be less “risk-adverse”. While Garoppolo is a fair comparison, I believe what Alex Smith did as a Chief in 2017 is his potential. Realistically, I have a third/fourth round grade on McCarthy due to his limitations, but I anticipate him going much higher due to his physical ability and resume as a winner.
Natural Arm Talent: 8/12 (Good)
Accuracy: 6.67/10 (Good)
Natural Leadership: 5.56/10 (Above Average)
Decision Making + Eyes + Anticipation: 5.56/10 (Above Average)
Pocket Presence: 4.44/8 (Above Average)
Athleticism + Mobility: 5.33/8 (Good)
Deep Ball: 2.67/6 (Average)
Feet + Base: 4.67/6 (Very Good)
Throwing Motion: 4.67/6 (Very Good)
Toughness + Fearlessness: 4.44/6 (Average)
Overall: 52.01/82 (.634)
Final Rating: Above Average Quarterback
Pro Comparison: Faster Jimmy Garoppolo
Draft Projection: ?
Draft Grade: Third - Fourth Round Pick
Scheme Fits: West Coast Offense
Potential Team Fits: Vikings, Falcons, Rams