Mel Kiper Jr: Top 10 is 'too high' for Michigan football QB J.J. McCarthy

J.J. McCarthy is one of the most interesting prospects in the entire NFL draft but Mel Kiper Jr. says he wouldn't take him in the top 10.
Jan 8, 2024; Houston, TX, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) is interviewed
Jan 8, 2024; Houston, TX, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) is interviewed / Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterbacks always tend to move up NFL draft boards late in the process, which is why I have always believed that Michigan football quarterback J.J. McCarthy will wind up as a top-10 pick.

It's something I have been saying since the summer. Yet, Mel Kiper Jr., a long-time NFL draft analyst for ESPN doesn't agree. He likes McCarthy and projected him to the Denver Broncos at No. 12 overall recently.

However, in the same podcast in which he did a mini-mock draft and selected McCarthy 12th, Kiper Jr. said that a top-10 pick "would be too high" for the Michigan football legend fresh off a 27-1 record as a starter, a 15-0 season, and a national championship.

“Try to move up [if you’re the Falcons],” Kiper said via “If you can move up and get Caleb (Williams) or Jayden (Daniels) or Drake (Maye)? I would be aggressive, if I were Atlanta, to try and do that. If you’re sitting at eight and you cannot move up? I’m not taking J.J. McCarthy at eight. It’s too high for me.”

I guess I don't understand why Kiper is fine with McCarthy going 12th but not No. 8? The Falcons desperately need a quarterback. Kirk Cousins has been rumored as a free-agent target, but that hasn't worked out that well for the Vikings who have one playoff win with Cousins. That's it.

Instead of breaking the bank on Cousins, a guy who will never be elite, why not bet on McCarthy? He's got an NFL arm. He needs to be more consistent but he's made plenty of big-time throws. He also offers playmaking ability and runs the 40-meter dash in 4.5.


I feel like McCarthy could be the next face of the franchise for the Falcons, and a true replacement for Matt Ryan. Kiper is the expert but with so many QB-needy teams around the top 10-12 pick, I still see McCarthy going in the top 10.