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J.J. McCarthy’s draft stock skyrockets – a front-runner for the No. 2 pick in the NFL’s 2024 Draft

The annual buzz around the NFL draft picks is gearing up to its peak again this year. With the draft now only three weeks away, speculation on future landing spots is rife. This year boasts a star-studded cast heading out to the big leagues, and no player is engendering quite as much gossip as J. J. McCarthy. While the quarterback flew low during the college season, his worth has skyrocketed in the lead-up to the draft, with some mock drafts even predicting him as a No. 2 pick for Washington.

For every fan of the game, it’s a nail-biting time, but for those who like to bet on their own mock drafts, this lead-up can be the most intense part of the season. Draft picks can be lucrative betting options, and McCarthy’s volatile status makes him a prime candidate for a high pay-off bet.

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What puts McCarthy in contention for a No. 2 pick?

Playing quarterback position for Michigan, McCarthy has been creeping up the draft picks since the Wolverines took the national championship back in January. For some, his place on the tables comes as a surprise. Compared to front-line talents like Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels, he comes up short in completions, yards and touchdowns in his 2023 season. He’s the youngest of the group and had only 28 games in college – fewer than most of the other star quarterbacks hitting the draft.

There’s no doubt that as a prospect, McCarthy lacks the shine of the others jostling for a spot as first-round picks, but any gamble with a high potential reward can always look risky at the outset. Those in the know might look to the Michigan Wolverine’s game philosophy, which puts a focus on power running. They build up a strong offensive line, and Blake Corum put in some outstanding runs all season. With this play style, the team didn’t lean on McCarthy’s talents as a quarterback the same way that LSU was built around Jayden Daniels.

When it comes to the grit of it, McCarthy has put out some showstopping throws, and it’s these howlers alongside his solid physical presence that have caught the eye of the draft tables.

Predictions in the 2024 NFL mock draft

  1. J. McCarthy is the subject of some wildly different predictions across 2024 NFL mock drafts, and it’s led to some exciting debate. But there’s one thing that fans and punters alike can’t doubt: McCarthy is among the top 10 picks this season.

While there’s no question that USC quarterback Caleb Williams is a heavy favorite to be snatched up by the Chicago Bears at No. 1, the jury is out on which of the top four quarterbacks of the season will wind up at No. 2. Drake Maye of North Carolina and Jayden Daniels of LSU are the top quarterbacks in this draft alongside McCarthy, and none of the top teams have given much indication of their favorites.

News outlets across America have been tapping into pro-level speculation. Matt Miller of the Denver Broncos praises McCarthy as a ‘tough, instinctive, and accurate quarterback’ and pins him as a good fit for New Orleans, and both Nate Davis (Vikings) and Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz (Giants) talk highly of his potential under the top-tier coaching in their teams.

Anyone looking to put some money behind speculation on the draft should also consider the outstanding prospects in other positions on the pitch who are up for grabs this season. While the Washington Bears are looking likely to snatch up a quarterback, the New England Patriots could take any other position at No. 3. The Cardinals as well are looking likely to favor a wide receiver like Marvin Harrison Jr. or Malik Nabers to replace DeAndre Hopkins, but if they’re as open to dealing their pick as a lot of tip-offs suggest, then the Raiders would be playing hard for the No. 4 pick and are hunting for a top quarterback. If the trade doesn’t happen, the Vikings and Broncos both draft ahead of the Raiders and are rumored to be hunting for a quarterback themselves.

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