JJ McCarthy is heading to the NFL Combine this week, and Michigan’s national title-winning quarterback easily has the most to prove in Indianapolis.

Some good news for those fans who follow the NFL Draft build-up was reported to begin the week as the combine starts to heat up. According to NFL insider Jordan Schultz, McCarthy is expected to take part in the throwing exercises at the combine this week.

It’s unclear if McCarthy will take part in the other physical testing, but it would probably serve him well if he did. The QB drills and testing will take place on Saturday, and the coverage can be seen on the NFL Network.

Why it’s important McCarthy throws

At this point in the draft process, McCarthy continues to be linked to various picks in the first round. He also earned the No. 27 spot in Daniel Jeremiah’s top 50 prospects list for NFL.com.

Still, McCarthy is far from a slam-dunk prospect at this point in the cycle. Saturday Tradition’s Connor O’Gara has McCarthy as the No. 7 QB prospect in his rankings for the draft, behind more veteran players in Michael Penix Jr., Bo Nix and Spencer Rattler. That shouldn’t be viewed as a problem for McCarthy, rather there is an opportunity to be had for McCarthy at the combine.

Some of the top passers in the draft are not planning to throw in Indianapolis with reports that Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels will meet with teams but not participate in the throwing drills. Fortunately, the majority of other QBs are expected to throw with Nix, Penix, Rattler and others lined up for performances at the combine.

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Mike Golic Jr. explained that McCarthy will be one of the “fascinating” stories of the combine all week. He doesn’t believe it boils down to one physical drill, but the chance for McCarthy to display his arm alongside other guys is important.

“I do think seeing JJ McCarthy throwing consistently next to Michael Penix Jr and Bo Nix, guys who were in a lot more pass-heavy offenses than what we saw from Michigan during the entirety of their national championship-winning season… Just seeing these guys go out there and throw one right after another.

“… Seeing what JJ McCarthy looks like next to a lot of these guys a little more consistently I think is going to be important.”

The “consistent” point of Golic’s assessment and the ability for McCarthy to throw essentially side by side with the other top QBs is the key. After all, anyone who watched McCarthy knows he can deliver NFL throws when needed.

Go back to the national championship game, and McCarthy’s throw to Roman Wilson for a big gain is a perfect example. McCarthy did a good job of looking the defense off to the left side of the field before dropping a textbook throw behind the defense and in a tight window for Wilson.

Then, there’s McCarthy’s throw to Wilson that resulted in a controversial touchdown call against Ohio State. Wilson being unable to hang onto the ball through the ground overshadowed McCarthy’s elite anticipation and vision to fit this throw between the helmets of two defenders.

So, if McCarthy can make those throws, why is there still negativity around his draft stock? Namely volume in the passing game.

Defenders of McCarthy’s game would say that’s unfair for the way he guided Michigan’s offense and completed 69% of his passes in two years as the starter.

However, his 654 total pass attempts in those two seasons are noteworthy, considering Penix attempted 554 passes each of the past two seasons. Nix finished his Oregon career with 879 attempts over the past two seasons, and even Rattler finished his time at South Carolina with nearly 800 attempts.

With the NFL Combine, McCarthy gets the chance to show his arm talent (and arguably more importantly, his mechanics) are on par — or better — than some of the veteran pieces in the draft. We’ll see if McCarthy makes good on that opportunity, but he will be the player to watch during Saturday’s throwing session.