ESPN Projects J.J. McCarthy to Have Kind of a Huge Rookie Season

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Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Minnesota Vikings officially turned the page on the next chapter of this franchise when they parted ways with Quarterback Kirk Cousins and drafted J.J. McCarthy as his heir in the 2024 NFL Draft.

It’s unsure when the keys will be handed over to McCarthy, as most NFL media and reporters seem to think Sam Darnold will at least start the season, but that day will eventually come. There are a few prominent writers out there, however, who de believe JJ will receive an ample amount of playing time as a rookie.

Projected 2024 stats for Minnesota Vikings rookie J.J. McCarthy

Mike Clay (ESPN), recently put out his fantasy projected stats for the top quarterbacks drafted in the first-round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Let’s just say they’re quite a bit higher than you may think.

Clay’s projected stats for McCarthy’s rookie season:

  • 3,527 passing yards
  • 20 passing touchdowns
  • 13 interceptions
  • 197 rushing yards
  • 2 rushing touchdowns

Related: Mike Florio Puts NFL on Blast After Kirk Cousins Poo Poo’s Tampering Allegations

Of the six rookie quarterbacks drafted in the first-round, McCarthy has the second-highest projected passing stats, just behind Chicago Bears Quarterback Caleb Williams. These might not be Kirk Cousins regular season numbers, but these numbers are more telling of McCarthy playing most if not all of the regular season.

J.J. McCarthy leading the league in QBR on play action in five years?

Jordan Reid, College Football Analyst and Insider for ESPN, also added a projected stat that each of these quarterbacks could lead the league in within the next five years. For McCarthy, he projects him to be leading the league in Total Quarterback Rating (QBR) on play-action.

QBR on play-action. Efficiency off these concepts is a strength of McCarthy’s game, and Minnesota runs a lot of it. He’s comfortable turning his back to the defense and resetting his eyes prior to making throws. His 90.4 QBR and 76.3% completion rate on play-action ranked sixth and seventh in the country, respectively, last season.

Jordan Reid – College Football Analyst and Insider for ESPN

Reid emphasized McCarthy’s expertise at turning his back to the defense and resetting his eyes prior to making the play-action throw. This is hard for a lot of quarterbacks in the NFL because they’re used to playing in the shotgun formation.

He finished with a 90.4 QBR and 76.3% completion rate on play-action ranked sixth and seventh in the country, respectively, last season. Excellent numbers that will translate very well in the NFL. Especially, with a dominant running back like Aaron Jones. Teams won’t be sleeping on Jones compared to Alexander Mattison last year.

J.J. McCarthy is set up for success with Kevin O’Connell

Regardless if McCarthy starts week 1 this season or if he has to wait for his chance, McCarthy is in good hands. He’s surrounded by elite offensive weapons such as Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson. Two excellent offensive tackles in Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neil. While also being coached by one of the best quarterback friendly head coaches in the NFL Kevin O’Connell.

Related: Minnesota Vikings Rookies Baffled When They Receive Minicamp Photos in CD Format

McCarthy’s time is coming. Patience may be required, but when he’s unleashed… it’s going to be one heck of a ride.

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