Tiki Barber isn’t a believer in J.J. McCarthy


As the draft approaches, most of the takes focus on how great a guy will be. Few will risk a decade of reminders that they were wrong to doubt a player who ended up being great.

Tiki Barber is willing to roll the dice when it comes to former Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy.

“J.J. McCarthy thing, I’m tired of hearing it,” Barber said Friday on his WFAN radio show, via Matt Ehalt of the New York Post. “Stop with the J.J. McCarthy thing. His film doesn’t say he’s a first-round quarterback. His film doesn’t say, ‘I need to get rid of all my assets and go draft this guy,’ because a lot of what he does doesn’t translate. The scheme that he ran at Michigan — and maybe this is an indictment on the scheme and not necessarily on him — but it didn’t highlight the things that you need to do, second-, third-level reads, multiple combo routes that you have to get correct. He didn’t do any of that stuff. They were run-based and he thrived in it because he was good at — that’s what Jim Harbaugh wanted him to do.”

Barber thinks the McCarthy hype boils down to Harbaugh, now the head coach of the Chargers, hoping that each of the four picks ahead of L.A. at No. 5 are quarterbacks. That will give the Chargers, as Harbaugh has said, essentially the first overall pick in the draft.

“The J.J. McCarthy thing, to me, is a smokescreen,” Barber said. “He’s getting inflated because Jim Harbaugh won’t stop talking about him. Now all of a sudden, he’s a top-four quarterback? I don’t buy it.”

With the Giants potentially taking a quarterback at No. 6, Barber wants his former NFL team to stay away.

“Not happening,” Barber said. “I’m just saying. Not happening. I don’t want him. Not happening.”

The truth is it’s impossible to know with certainty which players will thrive and which won’t at the NFL level. It’s notable that the league office, which wants the best of the best prospects at the draft, invited McCarthy to attend. (He declined.)

The league invited only four quarterbacks to Detroit — McCarthy, Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, and Drake Maye.

McCarthy likely will go in round one. Whether he’s boom or bust is a mystery, and it will be driven by plenty of factors. At this point, the teams don’t have a crystal ball. Barber definitely doesn’t.

If he’s right, he will have made a lucky guess. If he’s wrong, he might never hear the end of it.



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