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Patriots Daily: CFB Championship Set; QB Prospects Impress



Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) throws a pass during the first half of the Rose Bowl CFP NCAA semifinal college football game against Alabama Monday, Jan. 1, 2024, in Pasadena, Calif. McCarthy is one of the quarterbacks under consideration for the Patriots in the 2024 NFL Draft. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Last night the CFB Playoff semifinals were played. The Michigan Wolverines and Washington Huskies emerged victorious. They will meet Monday, Jan. 8 for the National Championship. Both teams have quarterbacks that could be of interest to the New England Patriots in the 2024 NFL Draft, and last night both impressed.

J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy is a player I have a second round grade on, who could make his way into the first round. It is also possible McCarthy, a junior, returns to Ann Arbor for another year. A strong senior season, especially as the featured player in their offense, could move McCarthy into the top five of the 2025 draft. But if they win the championship, he might be ready to move on.

Prior to last night’s game, I pointed out that if the New England Patriots do not select a quarterback with their first pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, McCarthy would be the type of player available to them.

This idea was met with a lukewarm response, at best. The majority of comments were negative. However, for those fans hoping the Patriots take Marvin Harrison, Jr. (or other non-QB) in Round 1, it is important to have a realistic view of the options.

Despite the negative response to the post, J.J. McCarthy performed very well. He walked away with Rose Bowl Offensive MVP in Michigan’s 27-20 overtime win. McCarthy finished 17-of-27 passing for 221 yards, three touchdowns, and no turnovers. He also rushed three times for 25 yards.

The move could make even more sense if Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh is coaching the New England Patriots in 2024.

Michael Penix, Jr.

Washington’s Michael Penix, Jr. is a player that I have a first round grade on, who may slide into the second round. It is also possible the Patriots would trade into the first round for a second pick to select a quarterback. Of all the QB prospects coming out of college, Penix, Jr. appears to be the most NFL ready, especially as a passer.

The knocks against Penix, Jr. are his age and his health. He will turn 24 in May this season, so he will be on the older end for an NFL rookie. However, among the current NFL quarterbacks who were 24 during their rookie seasons are Joe Burrow, Russell Wilson, and Kirk Cousins. Age does not drop the Huskies QB down my board.

Health has not been an issue the past two seasons for Michael Penix, Jr. in Washington. After transferring from Indiana, he has started all 27 games for the Huskies. However, his four seasons with the Hoosiers all ended due to injuries, including twice tearing his ACL. Clearly his medical file will be heavily scrutinized by all NFL teams prior to the draft.

Penix, Jr. won Sugar Bowl Offensive MVP last night. He completed 29-of-38 passes, amassing 430 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. He added 31 yards rushing on three attempts.

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Fun Fact of the Day

Today Patriots Hal of Fame cornerback Raymond Clayborn turns 69. He hasn’t played for New England since 1989, but is still tied for the franchise lead (with Ty Law) in interceptions with 36. He is also tied for the franchise lead (with Ellis Hobbs) with kickoff return touchdowns, 3.

Tweet of the Day

Tweet of the Day is from ESPN, with the final game-deciding play in last night’s Sugar Bowl…

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