Ex-NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb raises concerns over JJ McCarthy’s rising draft stock

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Ex-NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb is concerned that any team that drafts former Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy might be subject to buyer’s remorse.

In an interview with OutKick’s “Don’t @ Me with Dan Dakich,” McNabb said he was surprised by the recent rise in McCarthy’s draft stock.

Jim Harbaugh and JJ McCarthy

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh congratulates J.J. McCarthy after one of his second-half touchdown passes during the game against Michigan State, Oct. 21, 2023, in East Lansing, Michigan. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

“The JJ McCarthy thing is interesting to me because – I’m trying to really wrap my head around how he’s elevated to possibly being a top-six player in this draft.”

“Listen, I love what [Jim] Harbaugh was able to do at Michigan. There was a couple years ago when everyone wanted Harbaugh fired because he couldn’t beat Ohio State; and all of a sudden, he’s beating Ohio State and everybody else. Now he’s in the national championship game, but to me, J.J. McCarthy – I just see him being a guy that people three years from now are going to say, ‘Was he really worth drafting?’”

McCarthy led the undefeated Wolverines to a national championship in January, the program’s first since 1997. He threw for 2,991 passing yards, ranking fourth in a single season at Michigan, and 22 touchdowns for the second straight season. He finished his collegiate career with a 27-1 record as a starter over two years.

But McNabb isn’t impressed with those numbers alone.

J.J. McCarthy runs onto the field

Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy runs off the field at halftime of the game against Iowa during the Big Ten Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Dec. 2, 2023. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)


“He didn’t wow you with anything in college. And in college, you have to show that ability to be able to get the ball downfield, ad lib on plays, throw on the run, do everything that you’re seeing most of these top quarterbacks get drafted so high – we didn’t see that,” he explained Tuesday.

“I’ve seen a structured quarterback that ran a pro style offense where he turned around and hand the ball off to [Blake] Corum, hit his tight ends, hit his receiver [Roman] Wilson on crossing routes or maybe a seam pattern, a slant – I didn’t see him wow you with anything. And for him to be in the position they’re talking about, it’s amazing to me.”

JJ McCarthy with the trophy

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy holds the National Championship Trophy on Jan. 8, 2024, in Houston. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

McCarthy completed pre-draft visits with the Washington Commanders, which have the No. 2 overall pick, and the New England Patriots with the No. 3 overall pick. The New York Giants, who have the No. 6 pick, have also been named among the potential landing spots.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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