It’s looking like it’ll be difficult for the Las Vegas Raiders to add one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft. The Chicago Bears, Washington Commanders and New England Patriots hold the first three picks and they all have needs at quarterback.
If the Raiders want a quarterback, they’ll likely need to look at the second-tier options. Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy may be atop the second-tier of quarterback prospects. CBS Sports’ Josh Edwards is projecting Las Vegas to take McCarthy with the No. 13 pick.
“Las Vegas is moving in another direction after starting Jimmy Garoppolo and Aidan O’Connell last season,” Edwards wrote in a January 27 mock draft. “J.J. McCarthy is a prospect who should benefit from the pre-draft process, as he is able to effectively display his potential.”
McCarthy just turned 21 so he’s young and has a lot of upside. However, Michigan didn’t ask him to do much and didn’t throw for over 3,000 yards in any season. McCarthy is a winner and only lost one start at Michigan but he still has work to do if he’s going to be a dependable NFL starter.
J.J. McCarthy Has Good Athletic Traits
J.J. McCarthy has good height at 6-foot-3 but he’s got a thin frame and only weighs 202 pounds. He didn’t get hit much at Michigan so a big question mark will be whether his body can endure NFL-level hits.
Other than that, he’s got plenty of athletic traits that make him an appealing prospect. Ian Cummings of Pro Football Network detailed what McCarthy does well.
“A tremendous physical foundation is what buoys McCarthy’s profile in the early-round range,” Cummings wrote in a January 8 scouting report. “Though he sports a leaner build, he’s a high-level athlete and a high-level creator with an extremely loose and elastic arm.
“His combined evasive ability, flexibility, and off-platform torque expand the possibilities with him on the field, and as a thrower, he has the ease of velocity and angle freedom to make all the throws.”
The Raiders haven’t had a quarterback who can make plays with their legs in years and McCarthy would represent a big change. As the draft gets closer, McCarthy could be projected to go in the second-round so Las Vegas could wait to get him later. Getting the former Michigan star in the second round is more appealing than taking him with the No. 13 pick.
Michael Penix, Bo Nix or J.J. McCarthy?
J.J. McCarthy is in the second tier of quarterback prospects along with Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. and Oregon’s Bo Nix. Both Nix and Penix are a bit older for quarterback prospects at 23. McCarthy has more upside but will take more time to develop while Nix and Penix are likely ready to play as rookies.
Penix is scary due to his injury history but he was very productive in college. Nix has great traits but isn’t a clean prospect. The Raiders don’t have a good veteran quarterback to let somebody like McCarthy develop behind. That means Nix and Penix could make more sense in the short term. It depends on what new head coach Antonio Pierce and new general manager Tom Telesco are looking for.
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