J.J. McCarthy rising up the 2024 NFL Draft board, reminds ex-NFL QB of Donovan McNabb

Former NFL QB has ringing endorsement of the former Michigan star.

J.J. McCarthy
J.J. McCarthy / Todd Rosenberg/GettyImages

Colin Cowherd has some outrageous takes, but his draft position for J.J. McCarthy going No. 11 to the Minnesota Vikings seems like a logical spot for the former Michigan Wolverines quarterback.  The host of The Herd is use to pushback and he got it from a former NFL quarterback for where he placed one of the top prospects entering the draft.

Appearing on the Fox Sports show earlier in the week, Brock Huard respectively disagreed with Cowherd, saying he sees McCarthy of going much higher in the draft and it goes beyond the football field. 

J.J. McCarthy just has the natural feel of a winner, he’s “magnetic”

In leading the Wolverines to the National Championship, McCarthy showed both leadership and the ability to run an offense under a coach like Jim Harbaugh.  That experience should give him an upper hand in the draft, but does it put him in the same category as Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye as far as quarterback talent?  Well, the most talented quarterbacks are not always the best.  Another former Michigan quarterback proved that during his 20-plus years in the NFL. 

You know that man named Tom Brady.

In no way is this a comparison to Brady, but Huard’s thoughts on McCarthy is based more on the character traits of the player and how he rallies guys around him. 

Huard said on The Herd:

“When we had Michigan-Nebraska this year, and we sat in a production meeting with J.J. McCarthy, and he left the room, and [our crew] looked at me and went, ‘Wow. That dude is just — how do you not love that guy and not want to play for that guy and with that guy?’ He was magnetic. I watched the combine. I didn't just watch these guys throw; I try to watch for the interaction. As much as those GMs and those scouts and those coaches sitting up there in the stands, that's what they're watching too.”

Since the NFL Scouting Combine and even before, the McCarthy hype has been on the rise.  Unlike the top 3 quarterback prospects, he did workout at the combine, but did not run the 40-yard dash due to a hamstring injury.  In showing off his arm a bit, he did capture evaluators with his arm strength and accuracy.  Combine that with that magnetic effect Huard is talking about and there could be teams within the top 10 intrigued enough to draft him high.

Mock drafts have McCarthy going in the top 5 of the 2024 NFL Draft

In the latest CBS NFL Mock Drafts, McCarthy goes as high as No. 5 with the Minnesota Vikings trading up to get him.   Huard would be down with that, especially in comparing McCarthy to another former NFL QB who had success in the NFL.

Huard continued:

“[McCarthy] reminded me of Donovan McNabb in 1999. I went to the combine, it was a year very similar to this year's draft. There was Daunte Culpepper, there was Cade McNown, there was Akili Smith, there was Donovan McNabb, there was Tim Couch, there was Shaun King, I ended up being the seventh [quarterback] drafted in the third round. But I remember being at that combine and watching Donovan with the guys. And the guy, he was just a magnet. They wanted to be around him. He didn't throw the most beautiful, and he wasn't the most natural passer, but he was a winner.”

This is where teams must do their homework in selecting a quarterback high in the round, including McCarthy.  What Huard is saying is that teams can’t just access a player based on that raw talent.  Like McNabb, McCarthy has that leadership gene and ability to connect with players as he showed in Michigan. 

The eye test does show that McCarthy is a winner.  He is a QB who didn’t completely show off his arm in college like the big guns so there is that mystery as far as his ceiling.  It will be intriguing as to where McCarthy ends up, but the hype is gaining steam, and some team just may take a shot within that top 10 in hopes of finding the QB that will have the most success in the NFL.