Why Joel Klatt feels J.J. McCarthy fits as Seattle Seahawks quarterback.
J.J. McCarthy, the Michigan quarterback, passed for more than 300 yards just once last season. He rarely had to take over a game because to Michigan’s run-heavy attack, which included running back Blake Corum.
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McCarthy has emerged as a potential first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, with commentators such as ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. praising his arm talent, decision-making ability, and competitive drive.
On Thursday, FOX college football analyst Joel Klatt joined Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk and reaffirmed that McCarthy may be a quarterback fit for the Seattle Seahawks, who will choose No. 16 overall in the first round.
What’s his reasoning? McCarthy’s running abilities, something new Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald may be accustomed to after spending the previous two seasons as defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, led by Lamar Jackson.
“I’m not saying in any way shape or form that J.J. is comparable to Lamar,” he stated. “But I will say that (Macdonald) recognizes the value of the quarterback’s ability to generate two to five first downs with his legs every game.
“Those are monumental because the defense can do everything right, which he’s uniquely aware, and then all of a sudden the quarterback makes you wrong,” Klatt added. “J.J. has that ability.”
McCarthy ran 64 times for 202 yards and three scores this season, and he made clutch scrambles in important situations on several occasions. This includes a third-down convert to keep a drive alive in the second half of the national championship game against the Washington Huskies (at 13:19 in the video below or at this link).
According to Klatt, if the Seahawks sign McCarthy, his learning curve will be less steep because he is familiar with Macdonald’s concept. McCarthy was a freshman in Ann Arbor while Macdonald served as Michigan’s defensive coordinator under coach Jim Harbaugh.
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“He would be in an offense that is familiar to him,” Klatt said in an interview. “In a system and a language that would be familiar to him, not necessarily schematically, but from a philosophical standpoint.”
Does McCarthy have NFL-caliber arm strength?
Salk pressed Klatt about McCarthy’s arm strength, with the host adding that he didn’t think McCarthy showed the same passing ability as other NFL prospects. The obvious QB to compare McCarthy against is Michael Penix Jr. of Washington, especially now that former Huskies offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb will reportedly be the new Seahawks OC.
Klatt appeared surprised by Salk’s evaluation of McCarthy’s passing ability, stating that he had worked as a broadcaster for 16 Michigan games in the last three years and has never questioned McCarthy’s arm strength.
“Meanwhile, Salk didn’t even watch the Ohio State game, and he’s blabbering on about J.J. doesn’t make throws,” Klatt said with a laugh. “That was a leading question. Listen, I’m having a little fun at your expense, obviously, but yes, he makes such throws frequently.”
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So does Salk’s point have any credence? Klatt at least admitted that McCarthy and the Michigan offense leaned heavily on play-action and a quick passing attack, which focuses more on leveraging open parts of the field to attack defenses.
“If I was just going to give you any sort oft legitimacy to your point, which there is very little, I would say that he isn’t asked to do what, let’s say, a Michael Penix is asked to do,” Klatt said.
In continuing his defense of McCarthy, Klatt pointed to Michigan’s 30-24 win over Ohio State in 2023. McCarthy threw 16 of 20 for 148 yards, including a controversial touchdown pass that he spun between two Buckeyes defenders.