The buzz around the starting quarterback for the Michigan Wolverines is growing louder by the day. A year removed from a quarterback competition with Iowa quarterback Cade McNamara, J.J. McCarthy is now being projected as a first-round NFL draft pick in 2024.
In his annual “way-too-early” mock, ESPN draft expert Todd McShay has McCarthy going to the Minnesota Vikings at pick No. 20. Granted, while all early mock drafts are inherently silly, they do provide a nice barometer of expectations for rising draft-eligible players.
In his first year as a starter, McCarthy guided the Wolverines to a 13-0 record and a second consecutive Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff appearance. Statistically, he completed 64.6% of his passes for 2,719 yards, 22 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Most analysts expect McCarthy to take a massive leap this season with a team that returns the third-most production in the Power Five. If McCarthy continues on this trajectory, he will join Jake Rudock (2016; Rd. 6, Pick 191) as the only other Harbaugh-era quarterback to be drafted. He would also become Michigan’s first first-round quarterback selection since Harbaugh in 1987.