Former Vikings QB sounds off on J.J. McCarthy being a top 2024 prospect

Former Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy
Former Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

The Minnesota Vikings will target a quarterback early in this weekend’s NFL Draft, but a former Vikings quarterback doesn’t think that J.J. McCarthy is a prospect worthy of a first-round pick.

Kyle Sloter took to social media on Wednesday morning to declare that McCarthy isn’t worth the hype he’s been receiving before the draft. But his opinion came with the important caveat that he’s only watched two games of his 23 career games at Michigan.

“Let me preface this before I say something controversial, I’ve only watched two games of film on J.J. McCarthy,” Sloter began. “They were the National Championship [against Washington] and the playoff game against Alabama. I don’t see anything that would make me want to draft him in the first round of this draft.”

Former Minnesota Vikings QB doesn't think J.J. McCarthy should be a first-round pick

Sloter went on to list several issues with McCarthy’s game, including erratic ball placement that forces receivers to make acrobatic catches, questionable decision-making, a good but not great arm, and his ability to read a defense.

“He definitely had moments where he stepped up and made a play but we’re talking about him going No. 2 [overall] in the draft,” Sloter continued. “I think that’s a massive stretch.”

Sloter finished his opinion by saying that he had McCarthy rated as the fifth or sixth-best quarterback in the draft. When a fellow user questioned about the amount of time that he had put in scouting McCarthy, Sloter responded that he watched and broke down every second of the two biggest games of his career.

Sloter’s take is similar to some who study the draft and believe that McCarthy won’t live up to the hype because he wasn’t asked to do much at Michigan. McCarthy’s 654 passing attempts are 288 less than Drake Maye had over the last two years at North Carolina but 61 fewer than Jayden Daniels had the last two years at LSU.

But there’s also weight in the games that Sloter studied. McCarthy went 17-for-27 with 221 yards and three touchdowns in the Rose Bowl win over Alabama and went 10-for-18 with 140 yards in the national title game against Washington. While the numbers weren’t eye-popping, they also came with a dominant running game that saw Blake Corum run for 217 yards and three touchdowns over the two games.

Then there’s the rest of the sample size. McCarthy’s overall line of 2,991 yards, 22 touchdowns, and four interceptions with a 72.3 percent completion percentage seems to tell a larger story than the College Football Playoff games.

Alas, Sloter’s analysis is a lot like McCarthy’s draft profile or his failed attempt to win the backup quarterback job over failed practice habits in 2019. Both have limited sample sizes, and both can be proven wrong in the coming years – especially if McCarthy is selected by the Vikings.

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