J.J. McCarthy already has an advantage over Bears QB Caleb Williams

Minnesota Vikings QB J.J. McCarthy
Minnesota Vikings QB J.J. McCarthy / Adam Bettcher/GettyImages

Nine selections after the Chicago Bears used the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft on former USC quarterback Caleb Williams this past April, the Minnesota Vikings used the 10th overall selection on former Michigan passer J.J. McCarthy.

Not only will the first few years of Williams and McCarthy's careers be compared to each other because they were both 2024 first-round picks, but the connection between the two is even stronger because both of them were drafted by teams that are members of the same division.

If everything goes as well as the Vikings and Bears hope, these two young quarterbacks could be battling for the top spot in the NFC North for the next decade.

Minnesota Vikings QB J.J. McCarthy already has an advantage over Chicago Bears QB Caleb Williams

During Tuesday's episode of the "Purple Daily" podcast, SKOR North's Judd Zulgad pointed out how McCarthy, unlike Williams, has the luxury of not being forced to start immediately as a rookie next season.

"The McCarthy thing, I think, is really interesting. And again, I think it ties very closely to the [Daunte] Culpepper thing in this: they both don't have to play. Which I'm gonna continue to say I absolutely love. I absolutely love.

Caleb Williams, fair or not, will be largely judged in some ways on [his rookie] season. That's a difficult thing. [He's] a rookie.

You are a college QB who ran a college offense on which you looked at [play cards] that showed a donkey, a cow, a bikini model, and Bart Simpson. And now you're like, 'Okay, I gotta run a National Football League offense.'"

The comments were part of a discussion about an article written last month by ESPN's Aaron Schatz that ranked the top supporting casts for rookie quarterbacks selected with a top-12 draft pick in the last 30 years.

In the No. 1 spot, Schatz selected former Minnesota quarterback Daunte Culpepper, and a little further down the list, the situation McCarthy has landed in with the Vikings this year was given the No. 4 spot. As for Williams, his current situation with Chicago is viewed as the second-best in the last 30 years for a highly drafted quarterback.

What Zulgad points out though, is that, like Culpepper, McCarthy doesn't have to be rushed out onto the field to be Minnesota's starting quarterback as a rookie. But Williams, whether he's ready or not, will be the Bears' Week 1 starter when the regular season begins in September.

Barring an injury or just incredibly poor play from Sam Darnold, the Vikings will be able to take their time with McCarthy and let him develop at a more manageable pace. Williams' development in 2024 is going to take place on the playing field every time he snaps the ball.

Some of the best quarterbacks in league history like Patrick Mahomes, Philip Rivers, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers began their rookie seasons on the bench. While multiple former NFL quarterbacks who were drafted No. 1 overall like Jameis Winston, Sam Bradford, and David Carr never lived up to their expectations after starting immediately during their rookie years.

When we look back after a few seasons at the different approaches that Minnesota and Chicago are taking with their rookie quarterbacks, which will turn out to be the method that produces the most success?

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