All eyes will be on the Ohio State-Michigan game on Saturday as two of the best teams in college football go head-to-head in one of the best rivalries in sports. The Los Angeles Rams will certainly be watching as well, but it will be more than just for entertainment. There are a plethora of potential NFL Draft prospect in this game that include quarterback JJ McCarthy, edge rusher JT Tuimoloau, cornerback Denzel Burke and others.
The Rams will not be in attendance for the game, however, that doesn’t mean that they won’t be watching from afar.
13 NFL teams in attendance for the Ohio State-Michigan game – ARZ, CIN, DET, GB, IND, JAX, LVR, PHI, NE, NYG, SEA, SF, TB— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) November 25, 2023
Teams with multiple reps present: 49ers, Bucs, Giants, Lions, Packers, Seahawks
One player that they should be keeping a close eye on is Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy. After beating the Seattle Seahawks, the Rams have likely played themselves out of the Caleb Williams and Drake Maye sweepstakes. With that said, McCarthy is certainly a quarterback that the Rams could target in the middle of the first round.
Los Angeles did see McCarthy in person a few weeks ago when they were in attendance for Penn State-Michigan. The Rams are a team that likes to remain secretive and keep their plans close to vest. It’s possible that they went to Penn State-Michigan with the idea that other teams would think that they were there for Olu Fashanu, but were actually there for McCarthy. If they showed up to this game, team would know that McCarthy was their guy. Chess not checkers!
McCarthy only threw eight passes in the game against the Nittany Lions. He’s been going through a rough stretch ever since. Still, he has shown this season that he is a good fit for the Kyle Shanahan/Sean McVay offensive system. Saturday’s game against Ohio State will be a huge game for the Wolverines’ quarterback.
Dane Brugler of The Athletic said about McCarthy heading into Saturday’s game,
“One of the more polarizing prospects in this game and the entire 2024 draft class, McCarthy is coming off his shakiest outing of the year against Maryland(50 percent completions, zero TDs, one interception). The conversation of how early he should be drafted is ongoing, and his performance in this game certainly will help shape that narrative. But scouts are optimistic about his pro future, considering his tools and intangibles.”
ESPN asked college coaches and veteran scouts about the Michigan quarterback. While the coach called McCarthy a very good college quarterback, One veteran scout said,
“I’d be scared to take him in the first round right now and turn a franchise over to him. He’s undersized, got a slight and wiry frame and a small waist...He’s in the Sam Howell and Matt Corral mold, in terms of being undersized. As of now, he projects as an average starter in the league.”
McCarthy’s 139 passer rating in play-action ranks sixth in college football. His 87.5 adjusted completions percentage in play-action concepts also ranks third. He’s great targeting the 10-20 yard crossers over the middle of the field which are staples in the McVay offense. In deep passing situations, McCarthy’s 61.9 adjusted completion percentage ranks second and his passer rating in those situations ranks fifth.
Again, a matchup against Ohio State will be important for his draft stock as the Buckeyes are the toughest team that McCarthy and Michigan have faced this season. If the Rams are looking for a quarterback in the first round and for a player to sit behind Stafford, McCarthy may be the perfect fit.