NFL teams reportedly have one primary concern with Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy

Credit: Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh is generating the most buzz for a jump to the NFL ahead of the 2024 CFP National Championship Game. While his future in the NFL is guaranteed, quarterback J.J. McCarthy will have something to prove against the Washington Huskies.

McCarthy, who turns 21 years old a few months before the 2024 NFL Draft, has the resume of a potential first-round quarterback. He’s a two-time All-Big Ten selection, was the Rose Bowl MVP in January and was one of the best quarterbacks in college football this past season.

  • J.J. McCarthy stats 2023: 2,851 passing yards, 22-4 TD-INT, 89.5 ESPN QBR, 73.2% completion rate

Related: J.J. McCarthy NFL comparison

However, McCarthy also faces a bit of an uphill battle if he declares for the NFL Draft. Teams around the league have a consensus evaluation that Caleb Williams, Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels are the three best quarterback prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft. For McCarthy to be fourth or better, he’ll have to address one big uncertainty teams have with him.

NFL reporter Charles Robinson noted on the Yahoo Sports’ Zero Blitz podcast, that McCarthy has an opportunity to be viewed as the fourth-best quarterback prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft. However, there are some lingering uncertainties teams have with him.

“McCarthy is just a player that, it’s not even on a C.J. Stroud level, because they wanted to see Stroud play against an elite-caliber defense, throwing the ball, having a perfect game. McCarthy, they just want to see him throw. Go out there in a big game, on a bigs tage, let’s see you throw it 30-40 times, so we see some throws on tape, on a big stage, with a lot of pressure. Hes thin he’s not a big dude…but, I think a lot of them like the leadership.”

Charles Robinson on Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy

Related: CFP National Championship Game predictions

Harbaugh has compared McCarthy to Andrew Luck on multiple occasions. The Wolverines’ coach is more familiar than anyone with what made Luck a great quarterback from their days together at Stanford. Given Harbaugh’s track record with quarterbacks, his perspective on McCarthy carries weight.

“A quarterback that’s once in a generation. I knew it first with Andrew Luck. Just the way he took the field for his first practice as a true freshman. It’s just the way he walks on. You see it with other players. Just the presence that they have when they walk on to the field and then, the first time getting into the quarterback position, the presence that they have.”

Jim Harbaugh on J.J. McCarthy

However, no one around the NFL sees the Luck comparison. Not only does McCarthy not have Luck’s size, but his performances on film and his physical tools don’t match Luck. Not only that. it was McCarthy’s coaches who took the football out of his hands more often late in the year, something that rarely happened with Luck at Stanford.

This past season at Michigan, McCarthy attempted 30-plus passes only three times. In victories over Penn State, Maryland, Ohio State and Iowa, the Wolverines’ quarterback combined for a 1-1 TD-INT line with 496 passing yards, averaging just 124 passing yards per game.

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