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Seahawks Draft: Why J.J. McCarthy is ‘not an easy evaluation’

Feb 25, 2024, 10:30 AM | Updated: 10:33 am

Seattle Seahawks Draft J.J. McCarthy...

J.J. McCarthy of the Michigan Wolverines on Jan. 1, 2024. (Harry How/Getty Images)

(Harry How/Getty Images)

For the third NFL Draft in a row, there is speculation that the Seattle Seahawks could be interested in selecting a quarterback to be the guy for the future.

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In 2022, Seattle passed on a number of signal callers, opting instead to target the offensive line in the first and third rounds. Last year, the Hawks took a cornerback fifth overall after three quarterbacks went in the first four picks.

What about this year as the Seahawks hold the No. 16 overall pick?

Barring a drastic trade up, the Seahawks likely won’t have a shot at the top three quarterbacks in this year’s class. Caleb Williams (USC), Drake Maye (North Carolina) and Jayden Daniels (LSU) are expected to be picked right off the bat, potentially with the very first three selections.

In that scenario, that would leave Oregon’s Bo Nix, Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy as the three next best quarterbacks on the board.

Mike Salk of Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk said he’s recently become “obsessed” with the idea of McCarthy as a Seahawks quarterback. NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah dove into McCarthy during a Friday visit with Salk.

“I would say don’t be obsessed with him,” Jeremiah said. “He’s not an easy evaluation. I’ve used the phrase that he was an acquired taste for me.”

Michigan went a staggering 27-1 with McCarthy under center, but the Wolverines leaned on a strong run game and suffocating defense. That meant McCarthy didn’t pass nearly as much as other quarterbacks in college football, and was hardly the centerpiece of that offense.

“I think some of my biases just from watching TV was like ‘OK, he’s just kind of a member of the team here. He’s not driving anything with this team,'” Jeremiah said. ” … And then when you dig in and you start watching, you’ve got to watch a lot more tape to see it just because the volume is not there that these other guys have. But you go back and you watch the Ohio State games last two years, you look at even just making plays on fourth down. When you’ve got to have a play, he makes plays. In my opinion, he has a live arm. He can let it rip. You’ll see those instances the more you watch of it.”

Jeremiah used an interesting analogy when it comes to McCarthy’s ability and potential.

“I have a car out front. I’m sure the car probably goes 110-120 mph … But I don’t really drive over 75. But just because I don’t drive it over 75 doesn’t mean it’s not capable of doing that,” he said. “So he just wasn’t asked to do (a whole lot) is what I’m getting to.”

Jeremiah also has a pro comparison for McCarthy.

“I think if you’re looking for what type of quarterback he can be in frame, athleticism and kind of decision-making and never getting bored with completions, he kind of reminds me of (former San Francisco, Kansas City and Washington quarterback) Alex Smith a little bit,” he said.

Is J.J. McCarthy a possibility for Seattle Seahawks at 16?

With three QBs expected to be off the board in the first few selections, will the Seahawks even have a chance to draft McCarthy 16th overall? Jeremiah says that’s unlikely.

“I’m fascinated to see picks six (New York Giants) and eight (Atlanta Falcons),” he said. “I think that’ll tell us everything. Because at the end of the day, I think we ended up having quarterbacks go (with the first three picks), so then it’s a matter of who the fourth quarterback is. I know a lot of people I’ve talked to view (McCarthy) as that. And then you go OK, well, for the Giants being at least intrigued by quarterbacks as an option and the Falcons by all accounts, everything I’ve heard is they really want a young guy even though Kirk Cousins has been kind of a popular name to put there.

“If a quarterback gets by (Atlanta), then I think you see that maybe (McCarthy or another quarterback) becomes a possibility (for Seattle at 16),” Jeremiah said. “But you still have landmines with Minnesota and Denver (with picks 11 and 12). So there’s just a lot of quarterback (needy) teams this year, and we’ll see what the free agency market does to at least fill a couple of those chairs.”

Listen to the entire conversation with NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

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