Sports Illustrated Predicts Vikings Draft Pick Could Be Biggest Draft Bust

Sports Illustrated raises concerns about this Vikings' draft pick's ability to jump from a run heavy offense in college to a more dynamic offense in the pros
Minnesota Vikings cheerleaders pose for a photo
Minnesota Vikings cheerleaders pose for a photo / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In a recent projection, Sports Illustrated identified "Five 2024 NFL Draft Picks Most Likely to Be a Bust in the NFC." SI highlighted concerns about the Minnesota's Vikings first round selection, 10th overall, of quarterback J.J. McCarthy, suggesting that he has the potential to be the draft's biggest bust.

Michigan Career

Despite a solid career at Michigan where he was a three year starter at QB under (now newly-hired Chargers) head coach Jim Harbaugh, the offense at Michigan was run heavy with limited explosive plays. SI questions whether McCarthy has the upside and ability to produce as a top 10 QB selection.

McCarthy's Michigan senior year ended in an undefeated season for the Wolverines and a
National Championship with a 34-11 win over Washington. In the Championship game, McCarthy wasn't relied on much, only completing 10 passes for 140 yards and no TDs or INTs.

He was very efficient throughout his final collegiate season, throwing for 2991 yards and 22 TDs, and showing smart decision making with only 4 interceptions. McCarthy only threw for over 300 yards once in his senior year and never completed more then 26 passes in any game.

McCarthy's senior year and Michigan accolades included:

  • Griese-Brees Big Ten QB of the Year
  • First-team All-Big Ten Conference
  • Finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (nation's top QB)
  • Ranked sixth in the FBS with school-record 72.3 completion percentage (240-332)
  • For his 3 year stint at Michigan he set school records for completion percentage (67.6%) and lowest career INT percentage (1.54%)
December 31, 2022; Glendale, Ariz; USA; Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy (9) throws a pass during
December 31, 2022; Glendale, Ariz; USA; Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy (9) throws a pass during / Patrick Breen/The Republic / USA TODAY

Potential With the Vikings

McCarthy does have many positive things going for him, including stepping into the best situation for a first year QB among the first round QB's selected. The Vikings coaching staff, led by offensive guru Kevin O’Connell, has proven they can produce a dynamic offense. Plus McCarthy will have one of the best receivers in football - Justin Jefferson - to lean on.

SI noted that McCarthy "doesn’t have the skill set of Maye, the experience of Penix and isn’t as good of a creator as Williams and Daniels." But the Vikings will be playoff caliber if McCarthy is serviceable and manages the game, much like he was able to do at Michigan. With a solid coaching staff and talent around him in Minnesota, he has the most stable situation that should allow him to prove whether he was worthy of a top 10 2023 NFL draft selection, or just a game manager.

Chris Pirrone