Friday draft notes: J.J. McCarthy, Seattle’s approach at center and why trading down seems likely

Why J.J. McCarthy could be a high first round pick

McCarthy was an underwhelming watch on tape and it was hard to understand the first round buzz. Things became clearer this week.

Lance Zierlein tweeted about completion percentage among the draft class when scrambling:

This was interesting data but I wanted more information on third downs so went digging in the hope Lance might have the info. A few weeks ago I had a chance to speak with an incredibly well respected personnel man in the NFL and asked him about quarterback scouting. He said he would watch every third down throw a quarterback makes in college, then decide whether he wanted to watch any more. Whether you agree with that approach or not, it showed how much importance some scouts place on the ‘money downs’.

A Vikings fan named Nicholas Miller replied to my request with the following information that he had collated:

So there you go. McCarthy’s first down conversion percentage on third and 7 or longer is an astonishing 55.1%. None of the other big name quarterbacks in the draft can even get their percentage into the 40% range, let alone the 50’s.

Nicholas then shared data he had for ‘on target throws on 3rd and 4th down’:

When throwing past the sticks on 3rd or 4th down with +5 yards to go, Jayden Daniels has the best percentage (68.8%) followed by Bo Nix (65%) and McCarthy (64.7%). The others are some distance behind. However, when you refine the data to dropback passes only, McCarthy is well in front with a 30.1% on target percentage followed by Michael Penix Jr (29.3%) and Caleb Williams (28.9%). Daniels’ percentage is only 23.4% and Nix’s is even lower (19.4%).

When you then consider what Lance shared about production when scrambling, it paints an interesting picture. Being able to escape pressure, extend plays and throw on the run is such an important part of the modern game. McCarthy’s completion percentage on the run (71.4%) is again way beyond what anyone else achieved. Bo Nix is a distant second on 58.6% while Michael Penix Jr is all the way back at 23.3%.

If teams place a lot of emphasis on third downs and being able to create off script, the fact that McCarthy dominates in these two areas is telling. With many teams incorporating analytics and data into their scouting departments, it won’t be a surprise if several draft rooms have McCarthy rated very highly.

I’m not convinced it will carry quite the weight in Seattle. John Schneider seems to like a big arm to be able to drive the ball downfield and make explosive plays. McCarthy ranked 27th in college football last year for ‘big time throws’ (20). He doesn’t have a big arm and there are occasions on tape where his deeper throws fade at the end. He also has a slight frame and needs to add weight/strength.

However, I do think some teams — possibly the Vikings, Broncos, Raiders and Saints — could ensure McCarthy doesn’t even get to #16. It won’t be a surprise if the data here moves him into the top-10, with teams possibly preferring his style over Drake Maye — who was more erratic at North Carolina and didn’t perform as well on scrambles or third downs.

Some other interesting stats

Completion percentage when scrambling and third down conversions aren’t the only thing worth noting, of course. Play action is critical. Here’s how PFF graded the big name quarterbacks on play-action last season:

Michael Penix Jr (led the NCAA) — 93.1
Jayden Daniels — 92.7
Drake Maye — 86.4
J.J. McCarthy — 86.3
Bo Nix — 83.4
Spencer Rattler — 81.3
Caleb Williams — 70.8

Here are the number of ‘big time throws’ PFF charted off play-action:

Michael Penix Jr (#2 in the NCAA) — 18
Drake Maye — 7
J.J. McCarthy — 7
Caleb Williams — 6
Jayden Daniels — 5
Bo Nix — 5
Spencer Rattler — 3

This is quite a significant feather in Penix Jr’s cap if you want to run a lot of play-action. He’s clearly very good at it — receiving the highest grades on an individual level while also making almost three times more explosive plays off play-action than any of the other big name quarterbacks. I do think ‘big time throws’ are something the Seahawks will pay attention to, so here’s generally how PFF charted the overall number of BTT’s in 2023:

Michael Penix Jr (led the NCAA) — 43
Drake Maye — 34
Jayden Daniels — 29
Caleb Williams — 27
J.J. McCarthy — 20
Bo Nix — 20
Spencer Rattler — 12

Finally, here are the stats for ‘turnover worthy plays’:

Bo Nix — 5 (led the NCAA)
Jayden Daniels — 7
Drake Maye — 10
Spencer Rattler — 11
J.J. McCarthy — 11
Michael Penix Jr — 12
Caleb Williams — 18

What are the Seahawks looking for at center?

I went back and re-watched Jackson Powers-Johnson this week after a highly regarded Senior Bowl. I thought his time in Mobile was more mixed than originally thought and there are some slight concerns that also show up on tape. He doesn’t fire his hands as quick as you’d like, his frame is quite stocky and his movements initially can be quite stilted. He’s best wrestling and brawling on contact but I’m not sure he gets his angles right at the start of the play consistently enough.

I also started to wonder what type of center the Seahawks might actually want.

Powers-Johnson is 6-3 and 334lbs. Ryan Grubb and Scott Huff had Parker Brailsford at Washington last season and he’s 6-2 and approximately 280lbs. In 2022, Corey Luciano (6-3, 307lbs) started at center for UW. The Seahawks have used Evan Brown (6-2, 302lbs) and Austin Blythe (6-2, 298lbs). In Baltimore, Tyler Linderbaum has started the last two years and he’s 6-2 and 296lbs.

Brown, Blythe, Luciano and Linderbaum all ran excellent short shuttles and you’d expect the same of Brailsford.

Whether it’s John Schneider, Mike Macdonald, Grubb or Huff — they’ve all worked for a team with a center carrying a certain profile.

It does seem like there’s some consistency here to value leverage and agility rather than size. There are players in this class who could fit the profile with the required size/leverage advantages — Zach Frazier or Charles Turner for example. We’d need to see their testing numbers though. I think NC State’s Dylan McMahon is a key name to watch because he is definitely very athletic.

Olu Oluwatimi is also 6-2 and 309lbs so he also fits the leverage approach at the position. Maybe they’ll switch things up this year and go in a different direction but there’s enough evidence to think the Seahawks have a type and it isn’t a big, heavy, powerful center. It’s something to remember during this process.

In terms of defensive linemen, here’s something else to consider from Jeff Simmons:

Why trading down feels very likely for the Seahawks

You obviously need two to tango and any move down from #16 will require a trade partner. However, it’s hard to imagine the Seahawks won’t at least try to trade down in round one.

The meat of this class is going to be day two, stretching into round four. There’s so much value there — and at positions the Seahawks have needs. There are a host of intriguing interior offensive linemen — Zak Zinter and Cooper Beebe look like plug-and-play high-performing guards but there’s serious depth behind them with the likes of Christian Haynes, Jordan Morgan, Brandon Coleman and Dominick Puni. I have Graham Barton, Jackson, Powers-Johnson, Sedrick Van Pran, Charles Turner, Zach Frazier and Dylan McMahon all graded for day two at center.

It’s a good range for defensive tackles too. T’Vondre Sweat, McKinley Jackson, Tyler Davis, Kris Jenkins, Michael Hall Jr and Braden Fiske should all find a home on day two.

Linebacker, currently, looks like a big need. Day two is where you’ll likely find Payton Wilson, Jeremiah Trotter, Edgerrin Cooper, Cedric Gray, Junior Colson and Curtis Jacobs — while I think Nathaniel Watson is also worth considering in this range but could last into day three.

I’m a huge fan of Malik Mustapha the Wake Forest safety and have given him a second round grade with the expectation he’ll go in round three or four instead. He reminds me of Budda Baker and I don’t think it’s a stretch to make that comparison. Meanwhile, I’ve placed Oregon State’s Kitan Oladapo as my #3 safety with a round three grade after watching him this week. He’d be an ideal complement — big, strong, physical and fast. I also think he could go in the fourth round and present real value.

At pass rusher, Kansas’ Austin Booker is incredibly intriguing early on day three. Receiver is loaded with options if you wanted to add another young player to your group. I watched cornerback T.J. Tampa last night and he’s very interesting with an extremely physical style.

I can’t imagine John Schneider looking at this class and thinking he wants to draft once at #16 then wait 62 picks to select again, missing almost all of the sweet-spot. I think he’s going to want more stock between rounds 2-4.

There are obviously scenarios where you can’t turn down a great opportunity at #16. Chop Robinson is the one to watch I think. His get-off has to be seen to be believed. He has ideal size, great power in his hands and, whisper it quietly, he shares similar traits to Micah Parsons. He has game-wrecking potential and seems to be flying under the radar a bit because his production wasn’t great in college. The talent is very much there, however.

There are others too. Field Yates had Brock Bowers lasting to Seattle’s pick in his mock draft. I think there’s next to no chance of that happening but if it somehow did, you’d have to take him. Jared Verse would be another player you seriously consider ‘sticking and picking’. Some of the offensive tackles are very good in round one (but much will depend on Abe Lucas’ health and how comfortable you are taking a possible guard convert in the middle of round one).

Otherwise, trading down would be very appealing. Perhaps multiple times. Try to get back into round two. See if you can add stock in rounds three and four. This is a class that meshes well with Seattle’s needs — with a ton of Washington and Michigan players scattered throughout (we know the Seahawks have plenty of intel there) and lots of very attractive options with starting potential.

Acquiring extra stock also presents a better opportunity to take a chance on a quarterback. You might not want to do that with only three picks in the first three rounds. If you end up with five instead, you can address several needs then let the quarterback class come to you. If someone provides value who you like, whether that’s a Bo Nix, Michael Penix Jr or Spencer Rattler on day two — or maybe a Michael Pratt or Jordan Travis on day three — it makes sense if you’ve built your stock and added other players first.

I know a lot of Seahawks fans grew tired of the team endlessly trading down a few years ago. I don’t think the likes of Robinson, Bowers or Verse will last to #16 — and players like Powers-Johnson and Troy Fautanu, for me at least, would not present good value (especially not compared to the linemen who will be available 20-40 picks later).

If they can find a partner, trading down feels extremely plausible.

The Jake Peetz addition is such a savvy move

It was revealed yesterday that Peetz is leaving the Rams to become Seattle’s passing game coordinator. He was the ‘passing game specialist’ in LA under Sean McVay.

It’s a great hire for two reasons. Firstly, Peetz was highly regarded as a viable offensive coordinator candidate this year and interviewed with the Buccs before they hired Liam Coen, in an attempt to bolster their hopes of retaining Baker Mayfield.

Here’s what Peter King wrote about Peetz before the hiring cycle began:

Jake Peetz, 39, pass-game specialist, L.A. Rams. “He’ll win every interview,” one peer told me. Former QB coach of the Raiders and Panthers, former offensive analyst for Nick Saban at Alabama, former OC at LSU. Well-respected by Sean McVay in his two years with the Rams. What impressed me is Puka Nacua telling me in October that he learned the Rams’ offense in long early-morning sessions with Peetz in May and June. Imaginative guy.

Secondly, this feels like the Seahawks wisely planning ahead. Schneider admitted before hiring Mike Macdonald that if they went with a defensive-minded Head Coach, they ran the risk of playing musical chairs at offensive coordinator. Such is the demand for any offensive play-caller who has even a modicum of success (see: Dave Canales).

If Ryan Grubb excels in Seattle he too will be in-demand. I think the hiring of Peetz is an attempt to get ahead of the game. Bring in a highly rated young offensive coach when the offense is being built. He’ll be across everything. Then, if Grubb is hired away by another team, you have your ready made replacement waiting in the wings.

This is what Detroit has with Ben Johnson and Tanner Engstrand. Now the Seahawks have it with Grubb and Peetz. They don’t just benefit from adding a talented coach from the McVay tree, they also have a contingency plan for the future if Grubb gets a top job somewhere else.

I’ll be on KJR talking about the Seahawks today at 11am, be sure to tune in!


  1. Elmer

    Very interesting QB information! My first takeaway is that Williams might not be a lock for first player drafted. Great demonstration of why McCarthy might be a first round consideration. Thank you!

    • Parallax

      I doubt that. The eye test still means something.

      When metrics first became a thing, I was a huge fan. But now it’s overblown. To the point where people try to convince us we’ve got to ignore what we see. “Geno’s great because PFF says . . .” I sincerely hope there’s an NFL team (other than Seattle) that believes that crap.

  2. Joseph

    If Schneider likes the strong arm type, that could very well be Nix, Penix, or Rattler.

    Seattle I could definitely see trading back.

    Still torn on D-Line, O-Line, and QB as our 1st pick.

    • Ty the Guy

      Really b’s right. Only a few blue-chippers are worth staying at #16. So Hawks are totally trading back.

      My Latest PFN Mock (after two trade downs)
      #26 Graham Barton OL Duke
      #48 T’Vondre Sweat DT Texas
      #59 Spencer Rattler QB South Carolina
      #76 Xavier Leggette WR South Carolina
      #89 James Williams LB Miami (FL)
      #96 Jaden Hicks D Wazzu
      #193 Brewyn Spann-Ford TE Minnesota
      #221 Dylan McMahon OL NC St.
      #232 Jalyx Hunt EDGE Houston Christian


  3. cha

    On Jeff’s weight comment, I don’t disagree but I think it should be known that Macdonald has specifically said he doesn’t have it in mind to replicate the Baltimore D but that he will fit the defense to the players he has.

    I was in a discussion yesterday where people were more than happy to axe Jones ($4m cap gain) and were trying to reason out giving Jamal Adams “one more shot” with this new coach (potential $6m or $16m gain). It escapes me.

    Rob, I know this is probably asking for too much, but could you ask the Vikings fan if he has data for the 2023 QB class? I would love to see what they say for Stroud, Levis, Richardson, Young so we have more depth to compare and project NFL success. As we know, Stroud had tools but didn’t do much “NFL stuff” until late in the season and then blew up in that Alabama game.

    Your reasoning is sound – some teams will love McCarthy, some will not be moved all that much.

    • Brodie

      Back-testing that data against previous prospects would be very interesting.

    • Elmer

      It would also be useful to see this information for Geno and Lock.

      Certainly other variables can’t be held constant across comparisons like this: e.g., OL, WR’s, scheme, and the other team’s defense must have influence to a certain extent. Does the fact that McCarthy played for the nation’s best team be a factor?

  4. Peter

    Really truly fascinating data on jj mccarthy.

    It’s obviously a terrific strength of his. I’d like to see this data compared to other qbs from college to pros. I wonder however it presents a bit of a feast or famine play on the field. Not dissimilar to our current qb’s “amazing,” game winning drive stats.

    Bowers….very interested in his testing. I think there’s way more value in TE’s later and of course I have no idea how these coaches value TE’s. Been a bit concerned that his listed size is DK Metcalf so I’ll need to see it to believe it.

    There are quite a few stuck and pick players this year and I’m much more vested in great players than more picks. More picks makes all the sense but I need to see the results.

    • BK26

      To me, if Bowers is there, I’m still passing. He’s tight end. I get the value of having a top-end player, caliber of Kittle or Kelce.

      But out of the top guys (out of the top 5 in terms of receiving yards, 3 were from Iowa), Hockenson and Evan Engram were the only first rounders. And I think Engram is just “good.” The others were all guys with the tape and testing, just none of the flashiness (thank you Iowa offense). Oddly enough the 3 best blockers out of that bunch are the Iowa guys. We need someone that can receive and block.

      There are just bigger needs that a trade down fixes.

      On the McCarthy stats, doesn’t change any opinion that I have on him. I would rather take guys ranked behind him. Glad that he doesn’t have the arm that Schneider likes for it to really be an option.

      • DK

        Remember Schneider really liked Andy Dalton as well.

        I think having a cannon arm is nice, but Allen and Mahomes can move around and make throws. Penix is not very good on the move or outside the pocket.

        I think Schneider wants to come out of this draft with more foundation pieces and unless a QB falls that he isn’t expecting he will look and guys in rounds 3-5.

        I think Drake Maye could intrigue him in a Josh Allen type way. No way he last until #16 because he seems to have the tools just needs better coaching, and there will be a team who will take a chance on him.

      • Parallax

        If Bowers is there and we don’t take him, I’ll have no choice but to conclude that Carroll was not the problem.

  5. Alex Potts

    The play action stuff is why Michael Penix is the one to watch for the Raiders.

    Antonio Pierce straight up said in his introductory presser,

    “You gotta be able to run the football, play action pass, and what are the Raiders known for? The vertical passing game, right? So we want to see the shots down the field. We want the explosive plays.”

    That screams Michael Penix to me.

    His comments start at around 30:00 min mark

    • Orcas Viking

      Grubb made a similar comment about play action yesterday.

      • cha

        I will be intrigued to see how they deploy play action.

        Geno’s numbers were amazing on play action but they hardly ever used it. Pete always argued you have to run the ball successfully first to establish it, and they couldn’t, so they didn’t use it much.

        But I’ve seen several data studies that say it’s not absolutely necessary to run the ball well to ‘establish’ the play action. The deception on its own works almost equally effectively.

        • Big Mike

          That is extremely interesting and also makes Carroll look like the old, stuck in his ways guy.

        • Parallax

          When I first read your comment, I thought you said, “I will be intrigued to see how they destroy play action.” Did a double take, wondering if it was ground hogs year.

  6. RainInSpain

    I noticed some guys last year that had high PFF grades way position… Ivan Pace Jr, Kobie Turner, Puka Nakua. I was wondering if there’s been a decent study on PFF grades and how those translate. All 3 put up very surprising seasons, so perhaps this is just a very rare instance.

    • DougM

      PFF also offers, for an extra fee, premium stats. I like to use these to create my own lists for each position in early draft season just to familiarize myself with names and identity players to take a closer look at. All those names were pretty high on the list and were all players that I targeted on mock simulated drafts. Puka was #4 of all wide receivers and #2 behind JSN for slot.

      • RainInSpain

        Yeah, I checked their premium stats last year before the draft and that’s how I found those names. I’m assuming it’s just one more data point to give to a data scientist, but it was at least interesting to note.

  7. Dustin

    Good write up thanks.
    Have you ever had a chance to take a look at Tatum Bethune from FSU? I don’t know how he’ll test but he played well as an off ball linebacker and he might be worth a later round pick?

    • Rob Staton

      Good day three option, hits well

  8. Rik

    My big concern with Michigan players in general is how much their stats may have been inflated by 3 years of cheating. Their OC and DC knew the other teams’ play calls before every play. I feel like that had to have an impact on individual player’s success rates. I don’t expect McCarthy to do much in the NFL, but if the Seahawks draft him, I hope that I am wrong.

    • Peter

      Harbaugh us a goofus.

      Do you really think teams are not trying to watch plays and decipher what they are doing?

  9. Palatypus

    I just need to comment on something Peter said in the thread for the last article.

    Nix= accurate Lock
    Penix=no known mobility
    Rattler=short, erratic
    Mccarthy= system qb as a pejorative
    Pratt= small school
    Travis= ridder but can throw

    Not according to the Zebra metrics from the Senior Bowl.

    1 Joe Milton III 19.44 MPH
    2 Michael Penix Jr. 19.2 MPH
    3 Sam Hartman 19.16 MPH
    4 Michael Pratt 18.31 MPH
    5 Bo Nix 17.85 MPH
    6 Spencer Rattler 17.5 MPH
    7 Carter Bradley 13.48 MPH

    • Rob Staton

      Penix is a very good athlete because the testing shows it

      But there is very, very little evidence on tape that he is an elusive extender of plays

      • Palatypus

        “It’s not that he has bad footwork. He has no footwork.”

        • Peter

          Still bummed that bends knees and claps didn’t take off now that I have a bunch if t-shirts in my shop with that on it.

          • Brodie

            Bends Knees and Claps?

            Sounds like Dances with Wolves great, great grandson.

      • Unio

        Not a scrambling extender, but seems to have good pocket awareness. Shifty. Feels pressure and slides, etc to buy a little time, IMO.

        Great article. This year’s QB definitely not one-size-fits-all. I guess it depends on the team’s offensive philosophy…do you want a game manager type with the high percentage 3rd down arm – great for a more methodical ball control game, or a more explosive, down-the-field play-action approach. Both need a good rushing game to be effective. Interesting, Jayden Daniels looks pretty good by these metrics.

        • Rob Staton

          I think are examples of good work in the pocket but in fairness that is different than elusiveness, improv and extending plays out of the pocket which has become such a huge part of the modern NFL

    • Alex Potts

      Penix’s running ability is underrated. He’s not very good throwing on the run, specifically to the right side… To the left side (arm side) he is better. Showed a great ball vs USC in the end zone.

      I don’t consider him a statue, but he is for sure a pocket passer at this point. If he’s pressured, he just gets rid of the ball and doesn’t take sacks, which is exactly what Grubb wants.

      Grubb mentioned he wants 2 things with his offense:

      1. 16% of plays are explosive (20 yards or more)
      2. 12% or less of snaps are not Penalties, Sacks, Turnovers, TFL’s.

      Penix did terrific getting rid of the ball and not taking sacks.

      • Peter

        I think his running ability is probably rated rightfully.

        I like Penix so grains of salt as I hash out negatives. He gets rid of the ball. Good. Bad…it’s pretty well covered that he doesn’t take the easy shots to keep things moving.

        Inverse it. Nix is a check down Charlie. Bad. However part of the nfl game is bleed clock and keep an offense moving which is a good trait.

        • Group Captain Mandrake

          The question about Nix: Is he a check down Charlie, or is that what the HC wanted him to do? I honestly have no idea which is correct. As Rob has pointed out, he threw a pretty nice deep ball in the Senior Bowl. Do teams think he is comfortable enough doing that to take a chance on him?

          • Peter

            Or as “that franchise guy,” a good channel on YouTube suggests he might have been doing that to overcompensate for his Auburn play as a pretty bad backyard qb.

      • Brodie

        Thanks! Nice find. I’d never heard that and shows that this is a serious focus. It’s not “we need to be more explosive and protect the ball”… Those are some measured and planned thresholds.

        Your timestamp is a little off though. He mentions those things earlier in the interview:

      • BK26

        How much of that was also from having the best o-line in college football?

        That’s the problem with this entire qb class: any positive can have a “yeah, but.” It’s such an oddly diverse class, skill wise , style wise, with experience.

        Not a knock on Penix, but just an example.

    • Peter

      That list was a lazy quick hit list of dismissive, derisive takes as to why Seattle may not like the players.

      Re: penix.

      Rob has said and you’ve shown info that says he’s more athletic than realized.

      When I said “known,” however:

      6 yr player. 265 yards. 2.0 yards per attempt. That’s not a single season. That’s all of them combined.

      • Palatypus

        Sure. I agree.

        • Peter

          I was pretty stunned and happy to see him cooking at the senior bowl due in part to the SDB’s strong on the ground reporting team.

      • Palatypus

        But at that speed, about the only linebacker at the Senior Bowl that could catch him would be Payton Wilson.

  10. Mr Drucker in hooterville

    Interesting stats. McCarthy is worth watching. Will Williams be downgraded? I’d like to see the numbers for others like Rattler, Travis, Pratt.

  11. Film12Hawk

    I’m in the minority but J.J. McCarthy is the QB in the draft I love most alongside Michael Penix. At least of the ones I’ve studied that I feel we have a realistic chance at getting. He’s only 21 and played in a system at Michigan that didn’t ask too much of him. Just like when the 49ers had Alex Smith and Colin Kapernick. Look at how Roman Wilson showed off at the Senior Bowl. The system they run at Michigan is more physical and play smart turnover free football. He’s also not asked to showcase his arm talent as they didn’t really have the talent outside of Roman Wilson to do so. He needs to work on his deep ball accuracy no doubt but that can be coached. He’d greatly benefit from having a year to sit. We’re a perfect situation for him. However now they’re we are talking about it John will do the opposite of anything we’re saying. Haha

    • Film12Hawk


    • Brodie

      If they do move on from Tyler, Roman Wilson would be a great replacement. If he goes too high, maybe Luke McCaffery.

      • Alex Potts

        Nice shout on Roman Wilson. He is awesome. Similar mix in style to Aman-rah and Lockett

        • Film12Hawk

          Brodie, I agree. I need to study Luke.

          Alex Potts, thank you. I can definitely see that mixture too. There’s a lot to work with in Roman Wilson. He’s one of the better receivers in the upcoming draft. There’s a lot of good ones this year.

    • BK26

      It’s the same offense that he’s always ran. So why were Kapernick, Alex Smith, Luck, and even Josh Johnson more of a focal point? Was McCarthy that much worse than them? They were all showcased and were put front and center for their teams. McCarthy definitely was not.

      He doesn’t have the arm so I think he’s the one that we can say John is most likely out on.

      • Film12Hawk

        In fairness Andrew Luck was a once in a generational prospect. He had his share of bumps his first year starting at Stanford and a lesser completion percentage than J.J. while also being asked to do more as he only really had Toby Gerhart to run the ball versus J.J. who has multiple talented backs sharing snaps with him. Alex Smith also wasn’t asked to do much when he was starting for the 49ers. He managed the game. Colin Kaepernick was more of a factor with his feet and didn’t have pinpoint accuracy that got him into trouble. He also had physicality. He was very raw coming out of Nevada. I can’t remember Josh Johnson well. So I’ll leave him out.

        I think J.J.’s arm is just fine.

        He just needs to learn to throw the long ball consistently.

        Think of all of the Michigan QBs before J.J. showed up. None of them did anything special or speculator. They did just enough. I feel you see more “it” factor in his game than those that came before him. He has things to improve but at such a young age I think we would be a good situation for him as he could sit for a year to learn.

        • BK26

          They all did more than McCarthy and were asked to do more. And Alex Smith had Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary in his early years, not Harbaugh.

          And you can argue that McCarthy still didn’t do anything that spectacular compared to anyone before him. His numbers were better than McNamara’s, but not by much. And he was on a much better team.

          He’s just lacking. And as you said, his arm is fine. It’s only fine. It’s still not good enough for Schneider. He seems to only be plus in athleticism. Everything else points to game manager. Could he be more? Absolutely. I just can’t get excited for a guy that didn’t factor into his team’s game plan and was literally hidden by the team for entire games (Penn State).

          • Film12Hawk

            I suppose I see Alex Smith’s career only truly beginning when Jim Harbaugh showed up as he’s the only one that knew how to meet his skill set that continued with Andy Reid. No one else had a clue on how to get the best out of him.

            I respectfully disagree but do see where you’re coming from too. Only time will tell of course. I could be wrong too. For every Kirk Cousins I’ve also predicted some real duds like Johnny Manziel being able to get his self together to be a great player.

          • BK26

            But it just might be differing opinions. You’d be very happy with him and I am the complete opposite.

            • Film12Hawk

              That’s what I mean too. I respectfully disagree as I see a better player than Cade McNamara. It’s good we can’t all agree on everything. It makes for a fresh approach when discussed healthily. Whomever we end up getting I’ll try being excited. I learned my lesson last season getting excited at the prospect of Will Levis.

  12. Film12Hawk

    That we are**

    Autocorrect is going to be the death of me. Haha

  13. Happy Hawk

    Rob you mentioned a mock draft site you felt was better than the PFN simulator. Can you share it again?

    • Rob Staton


    • ShowMeYourHawk

      Yeah, WTH happened to the PFN simulator? Must be some serious budget cuts over there. The big board gets updated but the player profiles are mostly vacant.

      • Rob4q

        The new PFN sim looks identical to the one on Sportskeeda – are they sharing the platform?

        • Rob Staton


  14. Bill H.

    Interesting passing data but I can’t help wondering how strength of opponents would effect the stats. Maybe too difficult to factor in.

  15. Anthony

    Oof Bo Nix with 31.8% past the sticks throw percentage on 3rd/4th down and 5+ yards as well as 19.4% on target/past the sticks/dropback. Keep in mind he was also in the bottom 5 in the whole NCAA in average depth of target per throw.

    Basically just shows he is a check down machine that benefitted from having superior talent around him. I see more Derek Carr in his game. Both have the tools to make the plays, but more often than not just prefer to take the check down.

    • Peter

      1. Interesting comp and might be true after all. However one player rocked out at Fresno and the other did it at power five schools.

      2. Not sure about the superior talent argument. Ducks have three offensive players going to the combine. Huskies have nine.

      • Peter

        Edit. 4 players for ducks.

  16. Gaux Hawks

    Brillant, really enjoyed this article. Exciting times!

  17. cha

    Jimmy G suspended for PED use and voids his $11m guarantee for 2024.

    Raiders got gifted a bunch of cap room and a roster spot too as they’ll cut him loose before his $11m roster bonus locks.

    Raiders are now 100% in the QB market.

    • Rob4q

      So who is more likely to end up there Geno or Russ?!?

      • ShowMeYourHawk

        Russ is the name but Geno, amazingly, is perhaps the more “dependable” QB at this point.

      • cha

        Gun to my head I’d say Geno.

        But that’s because RW’s contract situation is a monumental headache right now.

        • JJ

          Is Denver likely cutting or trading Wilson? U can’t see them trading with raiders.

          • cha

            It is impossible to say at this point. $85 million in dead cap will be unprecedented.

            At least until Deshaun Watson eventually gets cut.

            • JJ

              Yeah, I just don’t know how Denver would field a team next year. Probably a June 1 cap cut, but is Payton going to want to wait a year or two while they get out from under dead money. Doesn’t seem like a good situation.

    • Orcas Viking

      Geno in Vegas full time…that’s oil and water and spells trouble…stay off the roads after happy hour.

    • GoHawks5151

      Tim Hasselback just mock traded him to Vegas on NFL live haha

      • cha

        What’d the Seahawks get?

        • GoHawks5151

          Nothing specific. Just said they are a match

          • Rob Staton

            Here’s the bit:


            • cha

              Crazy that ESPN officials are openly talking about Schefter’s tweet meaning the Seahawks could be interested in dealing Geno Smith. But when a fan talks about it, he’s a hater.

              • Rob Staton

                Or that sections of the fan base are that dim that they thought Schefter’s tweet on Friday ‘confirmed he wasn’t going anywhere’

  18. Peter

    A minimal context post just looking at counting stats. Nix, penix, mccarthy. Just looking through their games last year against ranked opponents and their averages against them.

    Nix (5 games) did not include bowl game

    36.4 att. 293yds. 76.3% total tds/ints: 12/2

    Penix (7 games!!)

    37.8 att. 251 yds. 62.1 % total tds/ints 14/4

    Mccarthy (5 games)

    20.6 att. 143.2 yds. 71.8 %. total tds/ints: 4/0

    • Peter

      Actually one comment not quite context.

      Keep hearing about Nix as a check down Charlie but his yards per attempt are over 8.

      Whereas penix and nccarthy are sub 7

      And Geno’s last year was 7.2

      • JJ

        Are those air yards or including run after catch?

        • Peter

          Just straight yards per attempt.

          Everyone knows Penix throws deeper more often.

      • Group Captain Mandrake

        I’d be interested to know what the YAC is for Nix. OU’s offense was designed to get guys in space to pick up yards. I think that might skew his numbers a little bit.

        • Peter

          Obviously penix has less YAC than Nix.

          Mccarthy. Doubt it. Against Penn St. His second longest throw was a dump off in the flat where the reciever ran for 14 yards.

    • Alex Potts

      20 attempts per game. With the amount of play action and the run threat, it’s no wonder McCarthy had such a high completion %.

      I watched every Michigan game available on the internet when studying them in preparation for the National Championship Game.

      My main takeaway and gameplan:

      Make McCarthy beat you.

      Because I didn’t think he could hang. If you watch game-by-game… The eye test… McCarthy does not pass.

      I watched the game with a Michigan fan who was a former college football player. I asked him if he thought McCarthy would be a good NFL QB, and he immediately was like “Nahhh, he’s not gonna be good. He’s really small, and he’s not a dynamic passer”. His eval matched what I saw.

      • BK26

        Bingo. Out of the top, 7? guys, he’s the one that can’t carry a team or take over a game.

        His team this year was so good that no one could force Michigan to beat them through the air.

        • Parallax

          I tend to agree. This is where metrics get funky and teams start overthinking shit. Or at least fans, inspired by the media, do. Suddenly, people overthink the obviously good players like Williams and start to talk up the so-so. Happens every year.

      • Peter

        I referenced these games because he had a fantastic game against Alabama.

        3 tds. In four other games…..1 td.

        I’m very intrigued by his real measurables. Height? Maybe he’s 6’3″. 197 lbs? If he’s in the brave young mass gain program. Hand size?

        • Peter

          Bryce Young mass program

        • Alex Potts

          I agree, Think he will test at maybe 200. He has the youth thing going for him though. The NFL will put weight on him and he has a frame to do it, unlike Jayden Daniels who has a super slender frame.

      • Charlie TheUnicorn2187

        “With the amount of play action and the run threat, it’s no wonder McCarthy had such a high completion %.”

        There was an interview with HC M. McDonald and essentially, he said he wanted a team that can rush the ball and play-action pass. This QB skill set does seem to line up with the Seahawks stated needs.

    • Brodie

      Why omit Nix’s bowl game though? Liberty was undefeated and ranked when they played.

      • Peter

        Thought about because they were ranked but all the other opponents were power five schools.

        Plus he balled out and it would up his yards, completion percent and tds quite a bit.

  19. line_hawk

    Metrics are all well and good but all these metrics point to Caleb Williams as the worst of the QBs in that group; so I am skeptical. In addition to metrics, a lot also depends on the type of offense, how undermatched opponents are, how open the scheme gets receivers, etc. In other words, a lot of intangibles which is why tape study becomes important as you are great at.

    I would be interested to know similar stats for Mac Jones since JJ feels like him. Could be a good add for the Shanahan/McVay (Purdy/Garopollo/Goff) style offense though but don’t think the Hawks are going in that direction.

    • Rob Staton

      Sure, stats like this are not the be-all and end-all. They are still interesting though and nobody is saying ‘well this definitely proves anything’ are they?

    • Peter

      That’s what’s cool about this. Josh Allen at Wyoming (!!) Was crummy. Russ was for to short. Rodgers just a Tedford guy so..meh

      Mccarthy looks truly great against Alabama, Michigan St. Killer 3rd down and scrambling stats.

  20. Brodie

    Rob, you mention JPJ not fitting the profile of the Center’s that have played with our staff. 330+ is really rare for a center though, is it not? He also plays guard and is a heck of an athlete. I’m guessing his wTEF will be really impressive.

    Devon Witherspoon broke every CB drafting tendency we had last year. Small, short-armed CB in the top 5, much less first round. Though Tre Brown also bucked the trend re: measurables. Coby Bryant as well.

    This isn’t an argument that JPJ will be the pick, but more – wondering out loud – if the approach has changed a bit. Mike Morris and Kenny Macintosh were absolutely terrible testers last year.

    JSN barely made the 4.4 threshold (on his pro day). Charles Cross didn’t really fit the mold.

    Maybe some of the threshold stuff was Pete and John is more focused on production? Just noticing they’ve gone against the grain a bit more in recent drafts and have found success.

    • Brodie

      Olu and Coby also won awards for being outstanding at their positions. This years award winners have a lot of names we’re looking at. Watched a bit of Trey Taylor just now and I could see worse uses of a day 3 pick (alla Jerrick Reed). Payton Wilson obviously stands out too.

      Jim Thorpe Award Best Defensive Back Trey Taylor, Air Force
      Rimington Award Best Center Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon
      Butkus Award Best Linebacker Payton Wilson, NC State
      John Mackey Award Best Tight End Brock Bowers, Georgia
      Outland Trophy Best Interior Lineman T’Vondre Sweat, Texas
      Bednarik Award Defensive Player of the Year Payton Wilson, NC State

    • Rob Staton

      What I would say though is Devin Witherspoon was a fantastic player taken in the top-five. JPJ isn’t so good to necessarily warrant throwing out preferences in the same way. I think he’s becoming a bit overrated

      • Brodie

        As I said. This isn’t an argument that he’ll be the pick.

        Tre Brown and Coby Bryant were late picks that went against preferences. Just feels like some of those preferences might be moving on with Pete. Spoon, JSN and Bryant were John picks. I also mentioned morris and Macintosh as awful testers in last years draft.

  21. geoff u

    So far my too early ignorant QB ranking goes like this:

    Caleb Williams
    Jayden Daniels
    Drake Maye
    Spencer Rattler
    Bo Nix
    Michael Penix Jr (sue me)
    JJ McCarthy
    Jordan Travis
    Michael Pratt

  22. Charlie TheUnicorn2187

    JJ McCarthy. All the stats are nice, but the thing that really struck me was or is a winner. Yes, Michigan is loaded with talent, but you don’t win a National Championship on talent alone. You need a QB with leadership traits and that can execute the game plan.

    It is unclear where he will go draft pick wise, but a slight trade down (5 picks or so) and then you take him, would be ideal. I can see the kid going before Seattle picks all the way into the upper 2nd round.

    It is going to be a fun draft.

    • geoff u

      I mean, if that was your “metric”, Patrick Mahomes would’ve never amounted to anything and Mac Jones would be a three time Super Bowl MVP…

  23. Sparky

    I wonder how much we’ve been underestimating leadership/presence in John’s evaluation of QBs. To me, “tilt the field” is as much about getting other guys to listen and follow as it is wow plays/big arm, etc. Guys like JJ and Jayden Daniels seem (to me, based on very limited knowledge) to have an edge in that department, at least from what I can tell through body language, interviews, etc. I’m not sure I saw it as much from Penix? He always seemed a bit passive to me.

    Rob, do you have any read on which QB prospects excel in this department?

    • Alex Potts

      Yep John uses “Tilt the field” and “Tilt the room”. So it’s both on the field and in the locker room.

    • Rob Staton

      It’s very hard to say but I wouldn’t say Penix Jr suffers in any way compared to the other two you mentioned there. The days of ‘alpha male’ QB’s seem a bit of a thing of the past. Now I think it’s more about being a good player, accountable, approachable and handling responsibility. I think most of the QB’s in this class tick those boxes

    • Dregur

      Penix was known as the leader in the UW clubhouse.

  24. chavac

    Not sure I buy into the scramble numbers. Nix/McCarthy have a tendency to scramble, sometimes right off the snap even, before there’s any pressure. Penix on the other hand works the pocket as long as he can (actually he does this really well). If he’s scrambling the play has gone wrong. If Nix/McCarthy are scrambling, much of the time it’s on purpose/designed. To me numbers just indicate different schemes.

    It’s also interesting to note that McCarthy took almost twice as many sacks on almost half as many attempts. Doesn’t sound like a scramble master to me.

    • BK26

      Eh, I didn’t see Penix as a good scrambler. He is better in the pocket than some of the others, but it’s still not a plus skill. He has troubles with pressure. Just like he did years ago at Indiana.

      None of those three are too polished in terms of overall skills at being ready for the NFL: anticipation, pocket awareness, progressions, reading defenses. All three had fantastic players around them and/or an offense geared towards making things as easy as possible for them.

    • Cysco

      Do you know how many yards rushing Penix had last season?

      Go ahead and look. I’ll wait.

  25. BrandoK

    Rob you mentioned as a maybe day 3 option of either Michael Pratt or Jordan Travis are you able to give a brief report on either QB’s?

  26. cha

    Bob Condotta
    No transactions listed for Seahawks today. So that means the players who had full or partial 2024 salary guarantees in contracts if they were on roster as of today — Geno Smith, DK Metcalf, Dre’Mont Jones and Jason Myers — will get them.

    No shockers there

  27. GoHawks5151

    I can’t tell you how much seeing Kitan Oladapo on this site warms my heart. He is a great kid and warrior. He stuck out a horrible bowl season when Jonathan Smith tried to burn Oregon State on his way out, just to lead the young kids for the bowl game. In an era where kids skip the bowl season for personal gain he was about the team.

    I’ve always seen him as similar to JL Skinner last year. He will have traits and the mind set this team will love. I’ve seen him projected in the 6th so the word is not out on him yet. Great job!

    • Rob Staton

      I only got to him this week and really liked what I saw — I think JL Skinner is a good comp too

      • GoHawks5151

        Last year’s film I think provides a little more of what he can be in a MM defense. A little of everything. Death backer role, cover deep, pass rush. Oregon St less talented on D this year so he was cleaning up a lot

    • AlasskaHawk

      I really enjoyed reading this article – you gathered a lot of information.

      One tidbit about Jan MCaffrey is he had a 22 touchdown to 4 interception ratio this year.

      I think my view was effected by watching him play early in the season against Penn? He really wasn’t passing well. But he looked better at the end of the season .

      If I were him I would spend the summer working on those skills that he has. Especially passing while on the run. I think that will be where his skills are.

  28. Julian

    I think the Seahawks have definitely got to think of trading up if one of ‘their’ guys gets to within 3 or 4 picks in the 1st round. One of their 3rds might get them up to #12/13 or the 4th and 6th up to #14.

    Get the best roster possible for the money in free agency and the best player and players possible in the draft.

    • Rob Staton

      I think it’s a better draft to try and get more into rounds 2-4 personally

  29. Cawww

    Rob, a couple things to add about C preferences:

    1) Huff (before DeBoer arrived) also had Nick Harris as the C at UW. He was 6’1” 300 and performed very well in that scheme. Even carving out somewhat of a NFL career.
    2) On the contrary, I’m not sure we know what Grubb’s preference is. Brailsford was only moved to C after the starter Matteo Mele went down with a season-ending injury. He’s listed at 6’6” 300

    • DK

      Brailsford was recruited to be a center from the minute he stepped on to campus at Montlake. He won the starting job outright but it didn’t hurt his chances when Mele got hurt.

      He was never going to play anywhere but center.

      • Cawww

        He won the RG job outright, and then was moved after Mele went down for the year in late September

        • DK

          You are right, I forgot Mele got hurt early in the season. For some reason I kept thinking Brailsford beat him out then he got hurt.

          • Cawww

            That being said, Brailsford excelled in their system. #1 rated C by PFF iirc. So it wouldn’t shock me if that body type (and more importantly mobility) is their preference

  30. Mick

    The idea that we know Schneider’s preferences at QB is bizarre to me. He’s drafted 2 of them in 14 years, and reportedly had interest in drafting 3 others, all of whom were different physically and stylistically. Predicting which 2024 rookie will be targeted (if any) is a fool’s errand.

    • BK26

      What did all of those guys (other than McGough, that was a throw-away pick) have in common? That is why we have an idea what his tendencies are and what he is looking for.

      Might be more of a fool’s errand to ignore and write off the facts that we have. Especially when there is a clear pattern.

      • Mick

        What is the pattern though? Andy Dalton doesn’t have much in common with Russell Wilson from a physical perspective, who in turn doesn’t have much in common with Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes. You could argue the latter three were good creators out of structure with strong arms, but practically every GM and evaluator is seeking those things. There simply isn’t enough of a sample, or enough similarities between players JS has liked, to draw any conclusions regarding his preferred archetype.

  31. king

    I really like McCarthy. Not because of the way he plays or because he is at Michigan, but he reminds me of Brady. His raw physical talent is questionable but he is ultra competitive and he makes plays at crucial moments. You can’t plug and play another qb at Michigan and win a title, from what I saw of Michigan. One of the reasons I haven’t been vocal about this is because I only saw a short sample.

    He looks like a winner to me.

    PS I do not like Michigan, so if I have any bias, it would go the other way.

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