Vikings: J.J. McCarthy showing the same abilities, inconsistencies that were all over his Michigan tape

Vikings: J.J. McCarthy showing the same abilities, inconsistencies that were all over his Michigan tape

While quarterback J.J. McCarthy was a first round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, there is a reason he was the fifth quarterback off the board as he landed with the Minnesota Vikings with pick No. 11.

Nobody has doubted the arm talent of McCarthy. He can throw fastballs with the best of them, drilling tight windows with ease. However, a huge knock of McCarthy’s game coming out of Michigan was his inability to take a little off, throw the change-up when needed, and layer throws over second-level defenders and along the boundary. Especially when he was throwing the football to his left.

The early signs through minicamp in Minnesota reflect more of the same as well for the up-and-down McCarthy. While his arm talent continues to pop, the issues that plagued his tape at Michigan continue to plague him early on with the Vikings according to Dane Mizutani of The Pioneer Press.

2024 NFL Draft Minnesota Vikings J.J. McCarthy

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy misses the trophy to celebrate 34-13 win over Washington at the national championship game at NRG Stadium in Houston on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024. / Junfu Han/USA TODAY NETWORK / USA TODAY

Starting with that McCarthy has done well early on in his transition to the NFL, Mizutani praised the live arm of the Michigan man:

“The raw ability that McCarthy possesses has been striking to see firsthand. He already has shown he can fit throws into tight windows with relative ease.”

– Dan Mizutani of The Pioneer Press

However, Mizutani went on to describe the exact struggles that were pegged upon McCarthy by NFL Draft analysts and writers throughout the season: that ability to make the touch throw when it is required of him.

“The biggest issue for McCarthy has been his lack of consistency when either layering the ball to the boundary or pushing the ball downfield. That’s not unexpected considering he’s relearning his footwork under the tutelage of O’Connell and new quarterback coach Josh McCown. It’s going to click for McCarthy at some point, and when it does, he has the makings of being a very good player.”

– Dan Mizutani of The Pioneer Press

2024 NFL Draft Minnesota Vikings J.J. McCarthy

Jan 8, 2024; Houston, TX, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) celebrates after a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Washington Huskies in the 2024 College Football Playoff national championship game at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It would be an unrealistic expectation for McCarthy to completely rework his footwork and any mechanical issues in just two months since being drafted by the Vikings. After all, that is why they are paying Sam Darnold $10 million this year and have already named him the starting quarterback.

He’s got two great mentors in head coach Kevin O’Connell and quarterbacks coach Josh McCown to work with as he looks to become the franchise quarterback of the Vikings. He has the weapon that is a lethally strong arm, but McCarthy must learn how to wield it properly.

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