Best NFL fits for national champion quarterback J.J. McCarthy in the 2024 NFL Draft

As J.J. McCarthy's draft stock rises, NFL teams are maneuvering to land him.
NFL Combine - J.J. McCarthy
NFL Combine - J.J. McCarthy / Todd Rosenberg/GettyImages

J.J. McCarthy is the most intriguing quarterback entering the 2024 NFL Draft simply due to his presence on the field.  After seeing his stock rise at the NFL Scouting Combine and Michigan’s pro day, the former Wolverines signal caller is trending as a top 5 pick in the draft.

While his projected stardom doesn’t shine as brightly as Caleb Williams, Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels, NFL scouts, teams and analysts are seeing a QB prospect with the tools to be perhaps more successful in the NFL than the top 3 prospects.

NFL teams impressed by J.J. McCarthy leading up to the 2024 NFL Draft

In leading Michigan to the national championship, McCarthy showcased the leadership and physical toughness to make players around him better.  So, while his college stats aren’t going to jump off the page, his experience playing under a head coach like Jim Harbaugh and the throws he has shown he can make at both the combine and pro day workouts make him a viable option for teams selecting at the top of the 2024 NFL Draft.  How high will a team select him?

That depends on how blown away teams are with the competitive edge he brings to the football field.  As he has shown in college, McCarthy will play within the scheme and do what the coaches ask of him.  He has shown the ability to extend plays, but he won’t force the kind of plays that lead to mistakes.  That may make him more enticing as a young quarterback over someone like Maye who has the big arm, but can be erratic.

In McCarthy’s scouting analysis,’s Lance Zierlein writes:

"McCarthy doesn’t seek to play out of structure but is fairly consistent at making positive plays when it happens and ramps up his focus late in games and on third downs. He is confident and seems to have the ability to take slights and digest it as competitive fuel. McCarthy should continue to improve as a passer, but he fails to stand out in many of the areas that tend to be predictive of top-level success in the NFL”

Are NFL teams seeing a different McCarthy?  It depends on the patience, the fit and what teams see in his upside.  Here’s a look at the 3 best fits for the former Michigan star in the 2024 NFL draft.

New England Patriots and the next great hope out of Michigan?

J.J. McCarthy has been a top riser when it comes to quarterback prospects, but can he rise all the way to the No. 3 spot?

There have been rumblings that the New England Patriots are enamored by McCarthy due to his accuracy as a passer and toughness as an overall player.  He would remind Patriots fans of that other guy who hailed out of Michigan.

Will the New England Patriots draft J.J. McCarthy in the 2024 NFL Draft?
Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy / CFP/GettyImages

After the Mac Jones experience or debacle, the one ingredient the Patriots need in a young quarterback is leadership and McCarthy has it and has a flare for making players around him feed off his energy.  The question is whether de facto general manager Eliot Wolf feels strongly enough about what McCarthy brings to the table to draft him over QB talents like Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels?

While it isn’t fair to compare McCarthy to Tom Brady, he is coming out of Michigan as a more highly touted player than TB12 did when he came out in 1999.  Like Brady, McCarthy didn’t have to be the man in Michigan.  He simply ran the offense and did what he needed to do to help the team to the national championship.  With okay size and above average athleticism, McCarthy could come to his own on the pro level, which a team like the Patriots would have to believe he will do to take him at No. 3.

Now if they trade back in the draft, McCarthy could be a perfect choice at say…No. 11.

Denver Broncos a great fit for J.J. McCarthy?

Whether the Denver Broncos stand pat at No. 12 or attempt to trade up, McCarthy would be an ideal fit for Sean Payton and the way he likes to run his offense.  The accuracy, his experience working in a pro-style passing scheme under Harbaugh at Michigan and his decisiveness will intrigue a coach like Payton who made the decision to move on from Russell Wilson to be in on one of these quarterbacks.

Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton a fan of J.J. McCarthy?
Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton / Candice Ward/GettyImages

Unless the Broncos make a splash and get into the top 3 of the draft, McCarthy appears to be the best bet for a team that has Courtland Sutton on the outside and Marvin Mims Jr. on the rise as a playmaker.  Inserting a young quarterback like McCarthy would give Payton something to work with in Denver, especially if he isn’t asked to do too much right away.

During his final season at Michigan, McCarthy was highly efficient when he didn’t have to throw the ball too much.  He had a highly impactful run game around him and if Payton and the Broncos can do the same, it would allow McCarthy to run the offense, gain confidence and come into his own as an NFL quarterback.

Minnesota Vikings already have all the right ingredients for J.J. McCarthy to succeed

Even before Kirk Cousins took his talents to the Atlanta Falcons, the J.J. McCarthy to Vikings draft speculation and predictions were out there.  A slot ahead of the Broncos at No. 11, Minnesota may not need to make a move into the top 10 to select the Michigan QB unless a team like the New York Giants decide they want McCarthy.

If there was any chance of that, the Vikings have added draft capital by picking up the No. 23 overall pick to go a move ahead of the Giants who sit with the No. 6 overall pick.  Do the Vikings believe in McCarthy that much?

Well, they signed Sam Darnold this offseason which gives them some wiggle room in this draft, but with an opportunity to snag one of the top 4 quarterbacks, the Vikings are expected to be aggressive.  Unlike the Patriots and even the Broncos, the Vikings have the type of offense where McCarthy can come in and simply be a game manager. 

With Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison on the outside, Aaron Jones at running back and T.J. Hockenson at tight end, McCarthy could come in and run the offense like the way he did at Michigan.  He wouldn’t need to do too much right away and will have the coaching and talent around him to put him in position to be successful.    That is what makes the Vikings the best fit.  The question is, will they be able to outmaneuver teams to land him.