Why is JJ McCarthy rising up draft boards? Michigan teammate Roman Wilson explains

McCarthy, 21, is expected to be picked early in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft

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There's been no bigger draft riser than J.J. McCarthy.

The former Michigan quarterback, once thought to be a Day 2 talent, has suddenly found himself inside the top-10 of most mock drafts.

So, what's changed? McCarthy's leading receiver from last season has a theory.

“I told a lot of teams who talked to me about him – if you guys have a meeting with him, don’t bring him in the meeting room because you’re going to fall in love with him and you’re going to be second guessing every other pick you have," former Michigan wide receiver Roman Wilson told NBCU Local while promoting Six Star Pro Nutrition's new Kellogg’s Froot Loops-flavored protein shake.

"I feel like that’s what’s happening. They sit down with him, they finally meet with him and they realize that he’s a better dude than what people talk about. He really knows ball and he’s just an athlete at the end of the day. His film does not lie at all, he’s an elite quarterback. That’s what teams are seeing.”

The 21-year-old McCarthy has apparently been selling teams on his personality over the last few weeks leading up to the draft. He has visited or plans to visit the Washington Commanders (who hold the second pick), New England Patriots (third pick) and New York Giants (sixth pick) so far.

Last season was McCarthy's best in Ann Arbor. The junior totaled 2,991 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and four interceptions while leading the Wolverines to a perfect season and national title.

Before 2023, McCarthy served as the full-time starter during his sophomore year and split reps with the first team as a true freshman.

Over that time, Wilson -- who started at Michigan a year before McCarthy -- saw growth in how he led.

“Him stepping in (as a freshman) and being a young guy who’s already playing," Wilson explain. "And then his sophomore year, still being a young guy but leading the team this time. And then his junior year, he’s not a young guy anymore and he’s leading the team. He was the leader of the team and the face of the team.

"He just really grew and stepped out of his shell, became boys with everyone in the locker room, he’s really close and really caring. He just grew so much in terms of leadership.”

It's still unknown where McCarthy will get drafted next week, but it's likely to be earlier than anyone expected before last season. The 2024 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday, April 25, with the first round in Detroit.

Here are five things to know about University of Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy.
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