Why Tiki Barber Doesn't Want Giants to Draft Michigan's J.J. McCarthy

The former NFL running back doesn't believe the hype.
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Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy has been a quick riser in the rankings of many pundits heading into the 2024 NFL draft.

McCarthy, who finished his collegiate career by leading the Wolverines to a national championship, is considered a consensus top-four quarterback alongside USC's Caleb Williams, North Carolina's Drake Maye and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels of LSU.

Former NFL running back Tiki Barber, however, doesn't believe the hype. He'd prefer if his former team—the New York Giants—steer clear of McCarthy when draft night arrives April 25.

"The J.J. McCarthy thing—I'm tired of hearing it," Barber said Thursday on WFAN Sports Radio. "... His film doesn't say he's a first-round quarterback. His film doesn't say, 'I need to get rid of all my assets and go draft this guy.' Because a lot of what he does doesn't translate.

"The scheme that he ran at Michigan ... it didn't highlight the things that you need do—second-, third-level reads and multiple combo routes that you have to get correct. He didn't do any of that stuff. They were run-based, and he thrived in it because (he was) good at doing what Jim Harbaugh wanted him to do."

In two seasons as Michigan's full-time starter under center, McCarthy threw for 5,710 yards with 44 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He was a two-time All-Big Ten selection, including the first team as a senior in 2023.

Leading up to the draft, the Giants' situation at quarterback is a big question mark. Daniel Jones still has three seasons remaining on his four-year, $160 million contract extension he signed in November 2023. The team also signed Drew Lock in free agency and still has viral sensation Tommy DeVito on the depth chart.

Still, though, New York is a candidate to take a quarterback early in the draft. The Giants hold the sixth pick in the 2024 draft and could trade up into the top four picks if they wanted to take one of the top quarterback prospects available.

Barber just hopes it's not McCarthy.

"The J.J. McCarthy thing, to me, is a smokescreen," Barber said. "He's getting inflated because Jim Harbaugh won't stop talking about him. Now all of a sudden he's a top-four quarterback? I don't buy it."

Tom Dierberger


Tom Dierberger is a writer and editor for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Tom joined SI in 2023 after stints at FOX Sports, Bally Sports, and NBC Sports. In his spare time, Tom can be seen throwing out his arm while playing fetch with his dog, Walter B. Boy.