2024 NFL Mock Draft: Strategic first-round selections for each AFC North team

Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals are on the clock in the first round and it's a big day for the NFC North in the 2024 NFL Draft!
Ohio State v Michigan
Ohio State v Michigan / Aaron J. Thornton/GettyImages
2 of 4

Michigan . 17. . player. QB. JJ MCCarthy. 55. Nmd17. . JJ MCCarthy

With the No. 17 pick in the NFL Mocks mid-season mock draft for the AFC North, the Pittsburgh Steelers select JJ McCarthy, a quarterback from the University of Michigan. With Daniels gone, McCarthy was the guy here; knowing he would still be here at 17, the Steelers got their guy and an extra early third-round pick. Now they will have to try to move Pickett for additional or improved draft capital 

McCarthy has drawn the attention of NFL scouts due to his impressive physical attributes. He has an agile arm and is very mobile - able to dodge defenders and keep plays alive. His mechanics and accuracy are also noteworthy, especially considering his NFL-level talent.

In 2023, McCarthy has amazed at his layering ability and arm velocity, and he also demonstrated excellent anticipation and defensive manipulation. As long as he keeps improving, McCarthy has the potential to live up to his first-round pick and a potential franchise QB status. 

McCarthy is the blue-collar, big-hearted professional quarterback Pickett is, but with a much higher ceiling. It makes sense to take the upgrade at QB and move Pickett while he still has his contract value and youth.