The NFL combine solidified 4 first-round QBs alongside the mystery of Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix

INDIANAPOLIS — And then there were four. Well, at least four.

That seems to be the general consensus among personnel men regarding the quarterback class coming out of this past week’s NFL scouting combine. More precisely: As we roll toward the pro day circuit and personal workouts, a swath of talent evaluators believe that Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy has joined USC’s Caleb Williams, LSU’s Jayden Daniels and North Carolina’s Drake Maye as surefire first-round draft picks. This despite a throwing performance at the combine that was choppy at times for McCarthy, particularly compared to the other potential “second tier” quarterbacks in Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. and Oregon’s Bo Nix, who both had smoother sessions (albeit for different reasons) in Indianapolis.

Asked for their opinion on the number of quarterbacks who now appear to be locked into the first round, seven of seven evaluators included McCarthy in that mix. As expected, McCarthy’s 18-minute interview sessions drew some positive reviews, as did his demeanor and interaction in the quarterback drills, when two evaluators noted that others appeared to gravitate toward him. Evaluators were also pleasantly surprised to see him check in at 219 pounds, although there was at least some skepticism over how much of that was “real” weight, versus pounds that were padded for the event through hydration and some calorie-cramming.

Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy showed enough first-round potential as an NFL draft prospect this past week at the scouting combine in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

That suspicion aside, the general assessment was that McCarthy showed enough at the combine to keep teams intrigued over his above average arm strength, and mix of intangibles and leadership, allowing him to build on this week in his forthcoming Michigan pro day (on March 22) and the slate of personal visits and workouts he’ll be taking on. All of this means that while the teams inside the top three —…


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