A New Quarterback Prospect Arises in the Draft, Poised to Be a Potential 'Savior' for the Bears
BY V. CARBONNEAU DECEMBER 4, 2023 (9:44)
With only five games left in the Bears' regular season, it seems increasingly likely that the team will part ways with their current starting quarterback, Justin Fields. According to Bears insider Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, pursuing McCarthy is a potential option under consideration by the team.
Biggs points out that McCarthy is a native of LaGrange Park, Illinois, which adds an intriguing local angle to the story if he were to be drafted by the Bears. McCarthy's journey from being a five-star recruit at Nazareth to finishing his high school career at IMG Academy in Florida during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 is remarkable, making his potential selection by the hometown team even more compelling.
But what would the Bears get in QB J.J. McCarthy? Despite his relatively smaller stature at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds (compared to Fields' 6'3" and 227 pounds when he entered the league), McCarthy stands out for his exceptional accuracy and steady improvement during his time with the Wolverines.
McCarthy's debut touchdown pass at Michigan, as a freshman stepping in for the injured starter, showcased his talents. He threw a 69-yard touchdown, highlighting his strengths. Throughout his collegiate career, McCarthy's passing stats have steadily improved. In his sophomore year, he completed 64.6% of his passes for 2,719 yards, 22 touchdowns, and five interceptions.
In the current season, McCarthy has continued to impress, boasting a 74.3% completion rate with 2,483 yards, 19 touchdowns, and four interceptions. Notably, he has performed well against formidable defenses like Ohio State and Iowa, maintaining a 77% completion rate, 295 yards, a touchdown, and zero interceptions in those games. McCarthy's ability to play error-free football in crucial matchups has been a significant asset for Michigan.
While his statistics might not be as eye-catching as some other top quarterbacks in the draft, such as USC's Caleb Williams and North Carolina's Drake Maye, this can be attributed to Michigan's emphasis on its running game led by Blake Corum over the past few seasons.
Notably, NFL scouts have expressed high regard for J.J. McCarthy. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has praised him, and multiple scouts have commended his athleticism, arm talent, accuracy, and confidence. McCarthy is considered a legitimate first-round prospect, and his potential has drawn optimism from those who have evaluated him closely.
Whether McCarthy, who turns 21 in January, declares for the draft and whether the Bears express interest in him remains to be seen. The Bears are likely to explore all available options in the quarterback position, and McCarthy's performance this season certainly positions him as a player to watch closely, especially in light of the recent insights shared by Brad Biggs.