J.J. McCarthy's NFL ceiling 'incredibly high' says Joel Klatt

J.J. McCarthy is one of the most divisive prospects in the 2024 NFL draft and here's what Fox analyst Joel Klatt said about the former Michigan football quarterback.
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy points down the field during the second half of the College
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy points down the field during the second half of the College / Melanie Maxwell / USA TODAY NETWORK

Former Michigan football quarterback J.J. McCarthy is generating a lot of debate leading up to the 2024 NFL draft.

If you ask Michigan football fans, the quarterback who went 27-1 during his career with the Wolverines and just led U-M to the national championship, should easily be a first-round pick. The wins matter but McCarthy is about much more than QB wins.

The dude is the best athlete at quarterback in the draft. Caleb Williams is a dude. He probably throws the ball better than J.J. McCarthy but watch J.J. run 4.5 at the NFL combine. McCarthy has wheels and he's capable of making any throw -- just watch his highlights with an objective eye.

Why some doubt J.J. McCarthy

McCarthy's issue is that he wasn't asked to do as much for Michigan football as some of the other quarterbacks. The Wolverines run game was dominant. But McCarthy threw 22 touchdown passes compared to four interceptions. His TD-to-interception ratio is 49 to 11 for his career. McCarthy completed 72.3 percent of his throws this season as well as running for over 200 yards and three touchdowns this season.

Fox college football analyst Joel Klatt, who has seen McCarthy play as much as anyone, had this to say about McCarthy's NFL draft stock:

“McCarthy … I just feel like his ceiling is incredibly high,”Klatt said on his podcast. “He’s got elements and all five tools … If was asked to throw the ball from the pocket in a post-snap, read down the field let’s say 15 to 20 times per game, which he was, JJ was maybe asked to throw the ball, just no play action, just straight drop back and a post-snap read.” 

However, Klatt also explained why there is a projection with McCarthy, who has only two seasons of starting experience.

“But if you’re gonna sit in the pocket, receive a shotgun snap, and really read something down the field in a dropback passing sense. That’s something that Michigan didn’t do a lot. They didn’t need to. One they had the lead and two, it was outside of their identity. McCarthy only had to do that, I would say on average between three and seven times per game. So that’s not nearly as many times as Michael Penix had to do that. Now he will be required, JJ, to do that more at the NFL level than he was at Michigan. “So that’s why it’s a bit of a projection."


I believe J.J. McCarthy is going to be a top-10 pick. I also think he's going to be a franchise quarterback, but we'll have to wait and see who ends up being right.