Falcons take J.J. McCarthy at 8 in latest Pro Football Network mock draft

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 23 Rutgers at Michigan

The Falcons have to find a new quarterback this offseason, and ideally, it will come through the draft. Having a QB competent on a rookie deal is a cheat code in the NFL, and it could also potentially ease concerns about the position for the next decade-plus.

Unfortunately, it looks like the top three quarterbacks in the draft could all be off the board within the first three picks. That leaves the next crop of quarterbacks — J.J. McCarthy, Michael Penix Jr, and Bo Nix — as potential options for the Falcons. As of now, any of them seem like a reach with the 8th overall pick. However, over-drafting quarterbacks is a common theme in every NFL Draft. If the Falcons fall in love with one of these three prospects, it’s very possible they are in play.

In his latest mock draft for Pro Football Network, that’s what Ian Cummings has the Falcons doing, selecting J.J. McCarthy with the eighth overall pick.

Cummings has five quarterbacks going inside the top-12. It’s also notable that he doesn’t have Michael Penix Jr. going in the first round at all.

I don’t necessarily disagree with the assessment. Michael Penix Jr. had a hell of a senior season, but there are numerous reasons I don’t see him as a first round pick. He has an extensive injury history, a long throwing motion, and is an older quarterback. There were also some issues with his accuracy and decision-making in college.

I’m also not high on Bo Nix as a prospect, but J.J. McCarthy is intriguing. He finished his collegiate career before he even turned 21 years old, winning a National Championship. McCarthy was never the focal point of the offense for the Wolverines, and I would argue they didn’t do a fantastic job of accentuating his strengths. That will change at the next level.

Just imagine if McCarthy was three years older and playing in an offense like Oregon’s or Michigan’s. I’m guessing the numbers would look pretty gaudy. With time as well as the right system and coaches, McCarthy could become a good NFL quarterback. Whether that takes place in Atlanta is an entirely different story.

Photographer: Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire

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