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Purple & Gold Prospects: J.J. McCarthy Scouting Report

Welcome to Purple & Gold Prospects!

This will be an ongoing series to get Vikings fans familiar with upcoming draft prospects.The focus of this series will be to cover prominent prospects entering the upcoming NFL Draft. The series will center on the position groups of highest need on the current Vikings roster, but will also cover stand out players across the spectrum. I hope you will join me on this continuing journey to learn more about upcoming draft classes.

With that let’s discover the possible future of your Minnesota Vikings!


Height: 6030

Weight: 195 lbs.

J.J. McCarthy was a 4-star recruit out of IMG Academy. He declared for Michigan in December of 2020. In his one year as a full-time starter he led the Wolverines to a 13-1 record and a college football playoff berth. In that season he amassed 2719 yards passing, a 22-5 TD to INT ratio, and a completion percentage of 64.6%. Looking to build off of his impressive sophomore season he currently has the Wolverines at a 5-0 record in 2023 and has been steadily rising up draft boards leading up to the 2024 NFL Draft.

Games watched:Iowa 2022, Ohio State 2022, TCU 2022


McCarthy is a fairly athletic runner. He operates well from the pocket but will pick up good yardage on the ground when it presents itself or on designed runs. His pocket presence is also good and will reset or move up into the pocket to buy time and deliver throws. He displays great poise and releases the ball with oncoming defenders. McCarthy has a quick drop back off the snap and gets set into his base quickly. He is a good short-game conductor, getting balls out quickly and with anticipation. This is especially on display with the anticipation he shows on curls and comebacks. His hips swivel quickly to line up with the pass. He has good footwork when kept clean and flashes outstanding accuracy and ball placement when he is allowed to operate from the pocket. McCarthy is also good operating on the run and extending plays with his athleticism. He has consistently great accuracy and ball placement on intermediate routes and slightly deeper out routes. Keeps his passes away from defenders where his receiver can still make a play on the ball. He goes through progressions well and has good vision while reading the entire field. McCarthy wasn’t tasked with pushing the ball down the field a lot in the Wolverines’ excellent rushing offense but displayed good deep ball accuracy when the opportunities presented themselves.


Although McCarthy has consistently good footwork it can become a problem when he is under pressure or starts feeling pressure before it has actually arrived. Has a few baffling decision-making moments trying to throw the ball while being tackled. Also has a few deep ball misses on tape. His arm is good enough for the NFL but leaves some to be desired. His trajectory can be too low at times leading to batted balls at the line. At times McCarthy can hesitate with an extra hitch or ball pat that delays his release. This led to a pick 6 against TCU during the Fiesta Bowl last season. He can also turn down “NFL open” deeper routes for shorter yardage at times. Has a couple moments of not seeing defenders shading into throwing lanes. We would like to see Michigan open up things a little more for McCarthy this season for him to display more of his passing game. McCarthy also has a very slight build at the moment. His 6′-3″ frame has more to fill out but currently only plays around 195-200lbs.

So far in 2023

McCarthy has gotten off to a great start to the 2023 season. The Wolverines already stand at a 5-0 record in big part to McCarthy’s play. He has only passed for 1086 yards and a 10-3 TD-INT ratio, but he has an absolutely incredible 79.0% completion percentage. He has also added 116 yards on the ground along with 1 rushing TD. McCarthy is very young at only 20 years old and has great upside going forward. He has been steadily rising up draft boards and is already being mocked in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. He has positioned himself very well to be the 3rd QB off the board next April.


Accuracy: 13.8 / 15

Decision Making/Mental Ability: 13.1 / 15

Mechanics: 12.8 / 15

Touch/Trajectory: 13 / 15

Arm Strength: 7.9 / 10

Athleticism: 8 / 10

Durability: 8.9 / 10

Pocket Presence: 8 / 10

OVERALL: 85.5 – Late First-Early Second Round


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