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Draft Profile of J.J. McCarthy QB from Michigan – SKOL Search

Hosted by Tyler Forness

Welcome to The Real Forno Show, your go-to source for in-depth discussions on everything related to the Minnesota Vikings. As part of our SKOL Search series, today’s episode is devoted to J.J. McCarthy, the impressive quarterback from Michigan. We will delve into McCarthy’s background, strengths, weaknesses, and potential fit for the Vikings.

Who is J.J. McCarthy?
J.J. McCarthy is a third-year junior out of Michigan who is making waves in the world of college football. As a 4-star recruit, McCarthy has impressive stats under his belt, including 5,865 yards, 46 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions in his college career. Measuring at 6’3″ and weighing 202 lbs, he has the physical attributes of a promising quarterback prospect.

J.J. McCarthy

Weight-202 lbs
Third-year Junior
4-Star recruit per 247 Sports
Stats: 455-of-668 (68.1%), 5.865 yards, 46 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 154 carries, 576 yards, 10 touchdowns
Games watched: Bowling Green 2023, Minnesota 2023, UNLV 2023, Ohio State 2023

Unraveling the Potential of J.J. McCarthy
J.J. McCarthy’s time at Michigan is marked with impressive achievements. His record of 28-1 as a starting quarterback is a testament to his skill and consistency. His leadership abilities came to the fore when he took Michigan to their first national championship since 1997, showcasing his ability to perform under pressure and achieve results.

But how did J.J. McCarthy reach this position? His journey to the starting quarterback position was far from straightforward. He started his career on equal footing with his peers, but his performances in the early stages were exceptional. This led to him earning the starting position and he didn’t disappoint. He led Michigan to two consecutive playoff appearances, including a narrow loss to TCU in the 2022 season, then won the National Championship this season.

The Dual-Threat Quarterback
McCarthy distinguishes himself as a dual-threat quarterback, bringing a well-rounded edge to his game. His ability to gain substantial yardage on the ground and pose a rushing threat to the defense sets him apart from other quarterbacks in his class.

McCarthy’s Strengths
Several strengths set McCarthy apart as a quarterback. He moves fluidly with intention, doesn’t panic under pressure, and is capable of throwing in the face of pressure.

McCarthy’s playing style can be best described as a true dual-threat. He exhibits a running style similar to Aaron Rodgers, but with a greater emphasis on running. His footwork is active and purposeful, which enables him to quickly set his feet and execute throws. He doesn’t easily panic in the pocket, instead, he remains calm, composed, and is always looking for opportunities to attack downfield.

When it comes to throwing, McCarthy’s motion is compact. He can effectively utilize multiple arm angles, adding to his versatility as a quarterback. His arm strength may not be categorized as ‘elite’, but it’s certainly capable and reliable. He’s shown a good ability to drive the ball from the far hash, quite similar to the style of Kirk Cousins.

Potential Areas for Improvement and Concerns
Every player has areas where they can improve and McCarthy is no exception. There are instances where he tends to stare down targets and doesn’t always succeed in looking off his receivers. He also appears to have a slight gunslinger mentality, often believing he can make every throw. This can lead to forced balls and unnecessary risks. His deep accuracy needs work as it’s inconsistent and his decision-making could also use some refining.

The Context of J.J. McCarthy’s Performance
While McCarthy’s performance is undoubtedly impressive, it’s crucial to understand the context. Michigan’s play scheme heavily favored running the football and playing solid defense. This approach likely led to several games where McCarthy wasn’t asked to throw many passes. However, when given the opportunity, he’s shown his ability to be lethal in the intermediate level of the field.

J.J. McCarthy and the Big Question: Is He NFL-Ready?
Whether McCarthy is ready to step straight into the NFL is a contentious point. While he’s showcased immense talent and growth, he might benefit from spending a year or so learning from an experienced player. This would allow him to refine his skills and address the areas of weakness identified during his time at Michigan.

Tyler’s Grade and Thoughts on McCarthy
During the episode, I shared my evaluation of McCarthy. I gave him a mid-second-round grade. However, with the ‘quarterback tax’ phenomenon, where quarterbacks often go earlier than their graded round, I wouldn’t be uncomfortable taking him in round one.

However, I wouldn’t be comfortable taking him at pick 11 right now. There’s potential talent, and I believe he would thrive in a particular type of scheme. I also think Kevin O’Connell could extract the most out of him. Ultimately, I predict McCarthy will go in the 20s, and to secure him, the Vikings might need to do a Teddy Bridgewater or Jordan Love trade to go up and get him.

Tyler’s Grades
Arm Strength
Ball Placement
Throwing Motion
Decision Making
Functional Mobility
82.4/100 Second Round

The Importance of Draft Capital
The concept of draft capital and its implications was a significant topic of discussion in this episode. If the Vikings believe that McCarthy could be their future, trading up in the first round to secure that fifth-year option might be the route to take.

The cost of acquiring a quarterback, especially if they turn out to be a hit, should not be a major concern. As I mentioned in the episode, the cost becomes negligible if the quarterback turns out to be that good. If the Vikings hit on McCarthy, not one person will talk about the cost.

The Future of J.J. McCarthy
McCarthy’s future in the NFL is looking bright. I firmly believe he will end up being a first-round pick. He has an infectious personality and takes good care of himself, which are attributes that teams look for in a leader. Furthermore, he won a national title, which adds to his appeal.

However, there are concerns and variables that need to be solved. Despite these, there’s a lot to like about McCarthy. He has a high ceiling with plenty of untapped potential that can be honed with proper coaching and the right system.

In conclusion, the draft process for J.J. McCarthy promises to be intriguing. His potential and skill set make him a valuable prospect for the Minnesota Vikings. They need a future quarterback, and McCarthy might just be the answer. With the right grooming and system, he could turn out to be the franchise quarterback the Vikings need. As McCarthy’s draft journey unfolds, it will be interesting to observe how his NFL future takes shape.



Tyler Forness @TheRealForno of Vikings 1st & SKOL @Vikings1stSKOL and the Vikings Wire @TheVikingsWire and Dave Stefano @Luft_Krigare producing this Vikings 1st & SKOL production, on the @RealFornoShow. Podcasts partnered with Fans First Sports Network @FansFirstSN and Fans First Sports Network’s NFL feed @FFSN_NFL.



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