J.J. McCarthy to the Broncos? ESPN predicts it to happen

Feb 14, 2024, 10:38 PM | Updated: Feb 15, 2024, 9:08 am

J.J. McCarthy finished his college career as a national champion. And it seems as though the rise of his team — and him along with it — is continuing apace as the pre-draft season progresses.

Rare is the mock draft without McCarthy’s name somewhere on there. And in the latest mock draft posted by ESPN on Wednesday, analyst Field Yates had the Broncos taking McCarthy with the No. 12 overall pick.

On Yates’ mock, McCarthy was the fourth quarterback off the board. USC’s Caleb Williams, LSU’s Jayden Daniels and North Carolina’s Drake Maye went in the first three selections.

Who are the Broncos taking at No. 12? Get all the latest mock drafts here!

As Yates notes, No. 12 probably doesn’t reflect where McCarthy actually ranks among draft prospects. But there is a quarterback premium — especially in Round 1.

Writes Yates:

While this slot is ahead of where McCarthy ranks on my board, this is a story as old as time: Quarterbacks almost always wind up going higher than expected in the draft. And Denver has just six total picks, the next of which comes in the third round, which limits its options. McCarthy is an accuracy merchant with very good mobility. Scouts believe he offers more as a thrower than we saw during his last season at Michigan, when the Wolverines leaned heavily on a dominant defense and run game.


As NFL on Fox and 104.3 The Fan analyst Mark Schlereth noted this week, one thing helping J.J. McCarthy is the system in which he worked at Michigan, which involved more pro concepts than the ones that Bo Nix executed at Oregon and — prior to his transfer — Auburn.

“[Nix] has played a lot more football, but it doesn’t translate as well as what McCarthy played in Michigan. What Bo played in Oregon does not translate as well,” Schlereth said.

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“… There’s still spread, but there’s still some NFL principles in the Big Ten, with Ohio State and Michigan,” Schlereth continued.

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