New England Patriots

2024 NFL mock draft roundup: McCarthy a realistic option for Patriots?

The Michigan QB has been rising up pre-draft rankings for weeks.

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There are just two weeks remaining until the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, and it's hard to find a player whose stock is improving faster than J.J. McCarthy.

The Michigan quarterback has been rising up draft rankings and mock drafts for months, and that climb has been accelerated after his strong Pro Day showing late last month.

NBC Sports Boston's Michael Holley recently provided a fascinating update on how the Washington Commanders and New England Patriots, who own the No. 2 and No. 3 overall picks, respectively, view McCarthy.

"There's a really good chance he could wind up on the New England Patriots," Holley said on Monday's edition of Boston Sports Tonight, as seen in the video player above. "I'm hearing more and more chatter that J.J. McCarthy is high, if not first, on the boards of the Washington Commanders and the New England Patriots. He may be QB1 for both of those teams."

McCarthy had been just outside the top tier of QB prospects in the 2024 draft class for a while, but if you take into account all the latest reports, it sure sounds like that group now includes the former Wolverines star, along with USC's Caleb Williams, UNC's Drake Maye and LSU's Jayden Daniels.

Michigan used a run-heavy offense en route to an undefeated record and national title last season. Therefore, the Wolverines didn't ask McCarthy to shoulder as much responsibility as Williams, Maye and Daniels did for their teams. But when asked to make a clutch throw, McCarthy often delivered, including the College Football Playoff semifinal vs. Alabama when he completed 17 of 27 pass attempts for 221 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Michigan won in overtime and then beat Washington in the championship game.

McCarthy was a very accurate passer all of the last season, completing 72.3 percent of his attempts with just four interceptions in 15 games. He doesn't make a ton of mistakes.

The idea of McCarthy going as high as No. 2 or No. 3 overall would have been pretty far-fetched last fall. But now it seems like an actual possibility. Although, it should be noted that we're in the middle of silly season -- when rumors and reports are often smokescreens designed to fool other teams.

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We'll find out just how much the Patriots and other teams like McCarthy in a couple weeks when they actually have to make a pick.

Which other players might the Patriots target early in the draft? Here's a list of expert projections from recent mock drafts.

Phil Perry, NBC Sports Boston (crowd sourced): Drake Maye, QB, UNC at No. 3; Kingsley Suamataia, OT, BYU at No. 34

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: Drake Maye, QB, UNC at No. 3; Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State at No. 34

Bleacher Report: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan at No. 11; Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas at No. 23 (mock trade with Patriots trading No. 3 to Vikings for Nos. 11 and 23)

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

Danny Kelly, The Ringer: Drake Maye, QB, UNC

Nick Baumgardner, The Athletic: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Chad Reuter, NFL Network: Drake Maye, QB, UNC

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