Insider on Broncos Trading Up for J.J. McCarthy: ‘Everything’s On the Table’

A bonafide NFL draft insider spills the beans on how much the Denver Broncos may covet Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy.



NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah can’t be accused of jumping on the J.J. McCarthy bandwagon for the sake of expediency. Early on in the pre-draft evaluations, Jeremiah wasn’t shy in forecasting how the Michigan passer would fly up the board, and so it’s been proven.


Where McCarthy ultimately winds up is a riddle that will only be solved on April 25, but Jeremiah is certain the 21-year-old won’t slip past the Denver Broncos at No. 12 overall.



“If you tell me that J.J. McCarthy goes beyond the 12th pick, I’d be shocked,” Jeremiah said via


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Depending on who decides to draft McCarthy (perhaps far earlier than 12), his main suitors may ultimately boil down to a competition between the Broncos and the Minnesota Vikings. Of course, the Vikings have more draft capital (including two first-rounders) and also happen to be picking one slot ahead of the Broncos at No. 11, which will likely make all the difference when it comes to drafting McCarthy. 


Plus, according to Jeremiah, the Vikings tick all the boxes for McCarthy.


“I would say if they gave truth serum to the quarterbacks and the agents of all the top guys, every single one of them would say they would love nothing more than to go to the Minnesota Vikings,” Jeremiah said. “That would be the No. 1 choice. Of all these teams that are quarterback teams… that is by far the best landing spot for any quarterback to go into. It’s all set up, from the things that we talk about with the three ‘Ps’ — with the playcaller, the protection, the playmakers. Check, check, check.”


While it may well look like McCarthy is just out of reach for Denver, it’s not exactly a doomsday scenario, according to Jeremiah. Since head coach Sean Payton landed in Denver, the belief around the NFL is that something tangible is just over the horizon.


“Look, it’s not the Vikings, but look, I think it’s set up to be functional,” Jeremiah said. “You look at having the offensive mind/play caller there with Sean (Payton) and (Joe) Lombardi having been together forever. I put it this way. I think it’s set up to be sustainable. You’re not going to ruin the quarterback by throwing him out there with that group right now.”


Unfortunately, the Broncos aren’t in a position to sway opinions during this unique recruitment process. The framework of the draft dictates that if the Broncos truly covet McCarthy above all else, they’ll have to ante up.


That would mean selling the farm, so to speak, as it relates to relinquishing future first-round draft picks, which are needed building blocks in an NFL rebuild. Then comes the more nuclear option, which would see Payton and company package Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Surtain II, along with first-round draft capital, to leapfrog the Vikings at the last minute. 


Jeremiah sees the draft always presenting different permutations and scenarios that somehow just work — even if they appear beyond the realms of believability at times. 


“Everything’s on the table,” Jeremiah said of the Broncos and Vikings. “Whether or not that’s a trade up to 4, 5, whether that’s a trade up just a couple spots, or whether those teams stand pat, I think all those options are in play.”



Gideon Canice

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