Denver Meets With J.J. McCarthy At The Combine

Could the Michigan quarterback potentially land with the Broncos?

2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington
2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

Denver Broncos general manager George Paton announced the team met with Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy at this year's NFL Scouting Combine.

McCarthy is coming off of a junior year where we watched his Wolverines win a National Championship under newly hired Los Angeles Chargers coach Jim Harbaugh. Now, McCarthy may join his old coach in the same division once he reaches the league by way of Denver's early interest.

The quarterback talent in the AFC West can't be understated. When you have the best player at the position in the sport providing trophies to Kansas City with Patrick Mahomes and a star talent being Justin Herbert in Hollywood, it's time to get serious about bringing in a younger arm with a good upside to have a fighting chance in the division.

Especially if Russell Wilson elects to find a new home following his relationship with Sean Payton being impacted and his financial drama with the team, the door could be open for Denver to draft a QB to replace him. On the I Am Athlete podcast alongside former Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall, Wilson reiterated his desire to stay with Denver but, addressed the need to play somewhere that wants him.

If Wilson does leave, the question becomes, does Denver truly believe McCarthy is the answer? When other possible options such as Michael Penix and Bo Nix are most likely to be available when the Broncos are on the clock, McCarthy would have to blow them out of the water in the process leading up to that moment.

However, there are people within NFL circles who believe the mocks having him reach the top 10 is surprising given various concerns. Appearing on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, NFL insider Albert Breer spoke about something that could hold teams back from the 2023 First Team All Big-10 prospect.

"His frame is going to be under a lot of scrutiny here in Indianapolis. I had a guy who went into Ann Arbor in the fall say that he was taken aback when he stood up next to McCarthy -- at how narrow he was and how thin he was."

Albert Breer on J.J. McCarthy concerns

Does Denver want to deal with questions on size? Are they content with a quarterback whose frame will become a topic of discussion over the next few months? How do they feel bringing in a smaller-sized player in terms of stature in a division with Maxx Crosby, Chris Jones and Khalil Mack.

Since Peyton Manning, there hasn't been a signal caller to lead the Broncos to the playoffs. There have been 13 players to line up under center for them since 2015.

In terms of the draft, they've selected four QBs in the first round -- Tommy Maddox (1992), Jay Cutler (2006), Tim Tebow (2010) and Paxton Lynch (2016). This goes to show, since the Cutler pick, the Broncos haven't had a solid track record at the position in a while. Making this year's pick even more important given they choose to address the most valuable position on the field once again.

Paxton Lynch
Paxton Lynch was the last QB drafted by the Broncos, back in 2016. / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

If they decide the pre-draft meetings with him go well along with the combine and pro day performances, he can increase Denver's interest in him. They're looking at a passer who in 2023, was just under 3,000 yards with 25 total TDs (22 passing) on only four interceptions. And if we're being honest, the Michigan offense didn't go through him. He wasn't tasked with carrying the load on this championship team. Running back Blake Corum and the offensive line were the driving force in their title run. Do with that what you will.

McCarthy debates have started to heat up when it comes to where he'll land. Some are adamant he's a day-two selection while plenty think he can end up selected high within the top 10-15 picks. Whether you like it or not, the possibility of him hearing his name called early may end up being a reality.