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Tiki Barber suggests JJ McCarthy’s rising draft stock is a ‘smokescreen,’ hopes Giants pass: ‘Don’t want him’


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An injury cut Daniel Jones’ fifth NFL season short. The 2019 first-round draft pick ultimately appeared in six games last season.

Jones inked a four-year contract extension in 2023, but the injury and his overall disappointing performances in past seasons have put his future with the New York Giants in question. The quarterback prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft have dominated NFL offseason discussions.

While former USC star Caleb Williams is largely expected to be the first player off the board once the draft kicks off later this month, J.J. McCarthy’s stock appears to continue to rise. 


Tiki Barber in 2019

Former Running Back for the New York Giants, Atiim Kiambu “Tiki” Barber visits “Mornings With Maria” at Fox News Channel Studios on October 29, 2019, in New York City. (Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

McCarthy guided the Michigan Wolverines to the College Football Playoff National Championship in January, but he was widely projected as the fourth-best quarterback prospect in this year’s highly anticipated draft.


The Giants finished the season with a 6-11 record and hold the sixth overall draft pick. Some believe the Giants will use their draft pick on a quarterback, and McCarthy could be available at No. 6. However, Giants legend Tiki Barber has zero interest in watching McCarthy taking snaps at MetLife Stadium with a Giants uniform on

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


Barber argued that McCarthy’s skillet would not translate to the NFL level, and suggested that his former coach, Jim Harbaugh, was driving the majority of the positive attention he was receiving.

Jim Harbaugh talks with J.J. McCarthy

Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines talks to J.J. McCarthy, #9, during a time-out while playing the Indiana Hoosiers at Michigan Stadium on October 14, 2023, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

“J.J. McCarthy thing, I’m tired of hearing it. Stop with the J.J. McCarthy thing,” Barber said. “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.

“The J.J. McCarthy thing, to me, is a smokescreen. 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.”

J.J. McCarthy warms up

J.J. McCarthy, #9 of the Michigan Wolverines, warming up before a college football game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Michigan Stadium on November 4, 2023, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images)

North Carolina signal caller Drake Maye and LSU’s Jayden Daniels are expected to hear their names called shortly after Williams walks across the stage at the draft in Detroit. Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. also received some first-round consideration, although his injury history could give some teams pause.

While the Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos remain two teams that could trade up in order to draft a quarterback, New York could also be looking for Jones’ successor. Kirk Cousins signed with the Atlanta Falcons in free agency, while the Broncos benched Russell Wilson during the season, before later releasing him.


Michigan did lean heavily on its running backs during McCarthy’s tenure, but the quarterback did show the ability to make accurate throws. He finished the 2023 season with a career-high 2,991 passing yards. He initially received multiple second- or third-round grades from draft analysis, but it now seems at least possible that McCarthy could land in the top-10.

The NFL Draft begins on April 24.

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