May 30, 2024

Former Michigan Wolverine quarterback J.J. McCarthy is one of the most talked about prospects in this year’s class. This April, he’s expected to hear his name called within the first 10 picks of the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft held in Detroit.

For every Wolverine fan who doubles as a Detroit Lions fan, that could be a bittersweet moment

McCarthy commanded the offense of the first Michigan team to win a national championship in the College Football Playoff era in 2023. It was the program’s first national championship since 1997, six years before McCarthy was even born.

The 21-year-old had a fantastic career in Ann Arbor and NFL teams seem to love how his skills translate to the next level, especially after operating Jim Harbaugh’s offense to great success the past two seasons.

Of course, Wolverine-Lions fans know McCarthy won’t be wearing the new Lions uniforms coming for the 2024 season. Detroit appears set with Jared Goff under center while they groom Hendon Hooker for a potential opportunity in the future.

It’s no skin off McCarthy’s back. He’s hardly an NFL fan to begin with, and certainly not a Lions fan. He’s from a Chicago suburb and grew up a Chicago Bears fan. The Bears have the first overall pick and a need at quarterback, but they only have eyes for USC QB Caleb Williams.

While there are plenty of landing spots for McCarthy in the NFL Draft, one keeps popping up the most, and it just so happens to be another NFC North rival of the Detroit Lions – the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings let former Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins walk in free agency and have only signed former top-5 pick turned journeyman Sam Darnold since. The Vikings own the No. 11 overall pick, but that certainly wouldn’t prevent the team from trading up to grab the quarterback of their choice.

That might be necessary with the rising stock of McCarthy.

Still, the connections between McCarthy and Minnesota all but seem set in stone just weeks ahead of the draft.

In three of the five most recent mock drafts from ESPN via Mel Kiper, Jr., Field Yates and Jordan Reid, Minnesota is projected to select McCarthy either at 11 or by trading up. The more recent mocks all have Minnesota trading up for a quarterback, though Matt Miller and Mike Tannenbaum didn’t agree it would be for McCarthy.

 

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