Draft Profile: BioJ.J. McCarthy, originally from La Grange Park, IL, began his football journey at Nazareth Academy and then honed his skills at IMG Academy in the 2020 season. As a 4-star recruit recognized by both ESPN and 247 Sports, McCarthy's prowess was evident early on. This led to a commitment to Michigan even before concluding his high school career.
In his freshman year at Michigan in 2021, McCarthy participated in 11 games, logging 516 passing yards with a 58.6% completion rate and throwing 5 TDs. On the ground, he showcased his dual-threat capability, running for 152 yards on 25 carries, averaging 6.1 yards per attempt.
However, it was in 2022 that saw a meteoric rise in his career. Now standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing 200 lbs, McCarthy dominated in 13 games, with impressive stats: 2,719 passing yards with a 64.9% completion rate, and 22 passing TDs. He also added 306 rushing yards with five touchdowns on 70 attempts. His stellar performance won him Michigan's Offensive Player of the Year, an All-Big Ten selection, and made him a Semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award.
Scouting Report: Strengths
- McCarthy's arm talent is evident with the way he can zip the ball through tight spaces, reminiscent of his clutch throws during the Ohio State game.
- Despite the run-heavy offense at Michigan, he has consistently shown the ability to take over games when needed, as seen during his 2,719 yard, 22-touchdown season.
- His agility in the pocket was evident during the National Semi-Finals, using his feet to buy time and keeping his eyes downfield.
- McCarthy's deep ball accuracy is on display with several of his touchdown passes, particularly against Purdue where he highlighted his ability to drop balls into tight coverage.
- Has shown a strong pocket presence in high-pressure situations, notably when he outplayed C.J. Stroud in the Wolverines vs. Buckeyes matchup.
- His clutch performances extend beyond just big games; his natural leadership and intangibles were crucial in guiding Michigan to a 13-1 season.
- Excelled in play-action sequences throughout the season, especially during the Big Ten Championship, pulling defenders out of position with his fakes.
- While maintaining a consistent release point, his game tapes against top-tier defenses like Ohio State show his impeccable throwing mechanics and decision-making under duress.
- Though there's room for improvement in his middle-field reads, his performance against top college defenses suggests strong potential for growth in this area with more coaching.
- McCarthy's frame, combined with his stellar on-field performance, signals great potential for development at the next level, backed by glowing reviews from NFL scouts.
Scouting Report: Weaknesses
- While McCarthy flashes a strong for an arm, he battles inconsistencies with ball placement, often forcing his pass-catchers to adjust mid-route, inhibiting YAC potential.
- When airing it out, he struggles with touch and loft, rather than just relying on his arm strength. This sometimes gives DBs (defensive backs) a window to make a play on the ball.
- On tape, against TCU, he's shown a glaring deficiency in throws to the boundary on the right side, hinting at a potential mechanical flaw in his release or footwork.
- His dropbacks sometimes lack the crispness and rhythm, causing him to telegraph throws, especially on out routes, giving corners a jump on the ball.
- Physique-wise, he sports a wiry frame that might raise eyebrows about his ability to take NFL-caliber hits, especially between the tackles or on scrambles.
- His pocket presence needs refinement; while he’s got the wheels to extend plays, he tends to bail from clean pockets rather than stepping up and navigating the pocket with poise.
- His football IQ, while promising, showcases a rawness in reading complex defensive schemes and disguises, a red flag when projecting against NFL defenses.
- Ball velocity is a strength, but he often lasers passes when a softer touch is needed, particularly against layered zone coverages or when dropping it in the bucket over linebackers and in front of safeties.
- As he heads to the pro level, diversifying his route tree and demonstrating a consistent ability to progress through reads will be paramount.
- His pre-snap diagnostics show room for growth; recognizing blitz packages, adjusting protections, and hot-routing will be crucial in the faster-paced, more intricate NFL defensive schemes.
Scouting Report: SummaryLauded as a blue-chip prospect out of high school, JJ McCarthy's gridiron journey has been on the radar of many scouts. Assuming the helm for the Wolverines, McCarthy flashed a cannon of an arm and an innate ability to extend plays, even if the playoff hiccups have put some blemishes on his record. His arm talent can sling the rock with top-tier velocity, making throws that few can replicate. While Michigan's 2023 playbook might lean on their ground game, spearheaded by Corum and Edwards, it's a testament to McCarthy's adaptability and capacity to thrive in a run-first scheme.
With the mentoring of QB whisperer Jim Harbaugh, McCarthy's ceiling remains sky-high. However, the tape doesn't lie, and the need for polish in his game, especially in read progressions and touch passes, is evident. As he gears up for the forthcoming season, scouts will be salivating over his upside, waiting to see if he can hone his raw potential into consistent, elite-level play, making him an interesting prospect for NFL franchises.
He has the potential to be a first-day selection in the 2024 NFL Draft, but currently, we put him in the second-day range.
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