In the latest ESPN 2024 NFL mock draft, Mel Kiper Jr. has Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy going to the Minnesota Vikings with the fifth overall pick via trade with the Los Angeles Chargers.

With Caleb Williams expected to go first overall to the Chicago Bears and Jayden Daniels linked to the Washington Commanders at No. 2, the New England Patriots would utilize their pick on Drake Maye or McCarthy.

Kiper’s mock draft has the Patriots selecting Maye over McCarthy, leaving the Michigan product available for another pick inside the top five. Sirus XM radio personality Chris “Mad Dog” Russo was adamant McCarthy was undeserving of being selected in the top five.

“Mel, with all due respect, you guys, with this love affair with J.J. McCarthy. Have you watched the games? Go take a peek,” Russo said on ESPN’s “First Take” on Wednesday. “Maryland, he was awful. Didn’t throw the ball in the second half against Penn State. He was not that great against Alabama and they ran the ball great against Washington.”

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Russo added: “Where in the world is J.J. McCarthy the fifth-best player in the draft? I would never, ever … remember don’t say we all know about quarterbacks. Akillee Smith and Andrew Mare, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen … We go on and on with these teams that made these ridiculous decisions with these QBs, and now you take J.J. McCarthy, who didn’t throw a pass in the second half against Penn State.”

The outspoken media personality didn’t take a breath when he discussed McCarthy on the show, but Aaron McMann, a beat reporter who has covered Michigan football for M Live Media Group since 2017, has a completely different perspective.

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“When they did utilize his arm, he was as efficient as they get,” McMann told in a phone interview. “If you look at the efficiency numbers — quarterback rating, etc. — they’re off the charts.”

Early last week, it was reported that Patriots de facto general manager Eliot Wolf was “pushing hard” for McCarthy.

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If the Patriots did, in fact, snag McCarthy with the third pick, should New England fans be worried McCarthy could be a younger version of Mac Jones, or could the 21-year-old reach his projected “high ceiling?”

Featured image via Melanie Maxwell / USA TODAY Sports Images