Broncos draft prospect has potential to be NFL's next Josh Allen

Is J.J. McCarthy the next Josh Allen?

Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Recently, the Denver Broncos have been repeatedly connected to quarterback prospect J.J. McCarthy as their potential first-round selection in the 2024 NFL Draft. The 21-year-old signal-caller from La Grange Park, Illinois has drawn many stark opinions and doubts regarding his game and potential at the next level. However, is the criticism surrounding his performance in the 2023 season warranted?

In 2023, McCarthy was one of the nation's best quarterbacks on 3rd and long and under pressure despite having the highest percentage of pass attempts against top-25 ranked defenses (49.7%). The more impressive part regarding this advanced statistic is that McCarthy has a pretty sizeable margin ahead of the other top quarterbacks in his draft class. The assumption that Michigan's run game "carried" McCarthy to his current draft projection is almost comical considering he executed nearly every single time when asked to last season.

He's a high-profile athlete with an extremely strong arm and an impressive grasp of the game from an execution standpoint. He'll react to defensive coverages in a timely fashion and get the ball out quickly which will immensely aid him in his transition to the NFL. Who does this prototype remind me of? Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.

Funny enough, the Bills traded up from the 11th overall spot to the seventh overall pick to eventually land Allen as their franchise quarterback. The Broncos may find themselves in a very similar situation where they may have to move up from the 12th spot to the seventh spot via a trade with the Tennessee Titans considering the amount of quarterback-needy teams ahead of them (Vikings, Falcons).

Like McCarthy, Allen was also a 21-year-old athlete coming out with freakish athletic potential yet very raw film in college where many talent evaluators questioned his ability to quickly translate to the NFL. While Allen certainly struggled during his first two seasons in the league, he has now grown to be a consensus top-five quarterback in the entire NFL with the right coaching and development. McCarthy looks to have an eerily similar arch in the NFL but could potentially see an even quicker transition because of two reasons.

First, McCarthy playing a ton under center in Jim Harbaugh's pro-style offense at Michigan has already given him a head start in his adjustment to the NFL. Not to mention, Michigan competed against numerous teams last season who have multiple players being drafted into the NFL. It's not like McCarthy was throwing against poor secondaries as we witnessed Allen do at Wyoming. No disrespect towards those opponents, but McCarthy wasn't competing against Portland State, New Mexico, Hawaii, etc. His tape is very legit.

Second, McCarthy will go from playing under Jim Harbaugh at Michigan to Sean Payton in Denver. That's about as good as it gets. This will be the first time Payton is given the opportunity to draft and develop his own franchise quarterback meaning he will make sure that the process is completed the right way for McCarthy to find the most success. Payton has truly never been rewarded enough credit for how he helped Drew Brees become the legendary player he is historically known as today. There will be some learning curves and growing pains with McCarthy, however, it will be worth it in the long run.


The strong arm, incredible athleticism, and ability to extend plays outside of the pocket and exploit defenses all over the field scream Josh Allen in McCarthy's game. He doesn't necessarily have the "sexy" throws on film by any means, however, his accuracy and upside make for a potential generational talent in the making.

dark. Next. Why J.J. McCarthy is the perfect fit for the Denver Broncos. Why J.J. McCarthy is the perfect fit for the Denver Broncos