Patriots won't get the next Tom Brady from Michigan's J.J. McCarthy

Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy led the Wolverines to a Rose Bowl victory over Alabama.
Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy led the Wolverines to a Rose Bowl victory over Alabama. / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

It was bound to happen.

Last week, analyst Bucky Brooks mocked Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy to the New England Patriots with the third overall pick. His explanation:

"Given Tom Brady's success with the Patriots, taking McCarthy -- the best quarterback in Michigan history -- could be the move for Eliot Wolf. Despite his inexperience as a passer, McCarthy's athleticism, intangibles and winning pedigree could fit Jerod Mayo's profile for a QB1."

Brooks isn’t the first to mock McCarthy to the Patriots, and he certainly won’t be the last. How McCarthy’s stock has skyrocketed after the college football season ended is wild. Why is a quarterback, with a small sample size, considered a top talent?

With the quarterback's hype at its highest,’s Evan Lazar threw cold water on the building McCarthy mythology:

This post deserves a standing ovation, even though I don’t completely agree with the analysis.

J.J. McCarthy is a talented NFL Draft prospect, but in no way should he be compared to New England Patriots’ Tom Brady

It’s lying season, so anything is possible. What’s crazy about McCarthy’s stock is it seemed to first take off on social media. And since it took flight, its path is about to break through the stratosphere.

But it’s blasphemous to put McCarthy’s name alongside Tom Brady.

A player who gets better after the season is always a huge red flag to me. McCarthy put up below-average stats for the Michigan Wolverines, but he was under center for a national championship-winning team.

But let’s be clear: McCarthy won a National Championship. He didn’t win the National Championship. He accounted for zero touchdowns and completed just 56 percent of his passes in that game.

In a pass-happy era of football, he recorded just three 300-yard passing games over the past two seasons. While his peers are logging 4,000 passing yards and 30+ touchdown passes, McCarthy never had a 3,000-yard passing season, and 22 touchdown passes is his career high.

A lot has been said about the Michigan quarterback's third-down passing, but that doesn’t cover his performances in big games. He was the man against Ohio State in 2022 with four total touchdowns. But last season McCarthy passed for one score, completed 16-of-20 passes for 148 yards.

Against TCU in the national semifinals, he threw for 343 yards, two touchdown passes, and ran for one, but he also threw two interceptions, both returned for scores.

Though he had just 221 passing yards against Alabama, he threw for three scores and led the Wolverines on the game-winning touchdown drive.

That doesn’t compare to Brady repeatedly cleaning up for star recruit Drew Henson. Against Ohio State in 1999, Brady rallied the Wolverines from seven points down to a 24-17 win.

Later that season, Brady led Michigan back from two 14-point deficits and the game-winning TD pass in overtime over Alabama in the 2000 Orange Bowl. He completed 74 percent of his passes for 369 yards and four touchdowns.

Even in college, Brady was that guy. For the most part, McCarthy was a guy who supported a dominant defense and an imposing running game.

Look, I get it. Everybody wants to be the one to say they were the first to identify the next G.O.A.T. McCarthy playing for the same school as Brady did is an easy, lazy projection. It didn’t happen for Elvis Grbac, Brian Griese, or the countless QBs that followed Brady.

And don’t forget that Brady wasn’t the G.O.A.T. in college. He evolved into one as a pro. McCarthy hasn’t even thrown his first NFL pass.

McCarthy has enough going for him. Strong arm, great athlete, 27-1 career record as a starter. The worst thing to do to the kid is place the astronomical expectations of following in Brady’s footsteps before he laces his pro cleats.

There’s only on Brady. Let McCarthy be McCarthy.

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