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Manning: Broncos 'very interested' in J.J. McCarthy

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The Denver Broncos are eyeing quarterback J.J. McCarthy in this week's NFL draft, according to Peyton Manning.

"I know Denver is very interested in him, and it sounded like this is a place he'd love to come to," the Hall of Fame quarterback said Tuesday on the "Stokley and Josh" show.

McCarthy's draft stock has risen in recent weeks, and he's considered the fourth-best QB prospect in 2024 after Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, and Drake Maye. The Broncos own the No. 12 pick and would likely have to move up in the first round to land McCarthy.

Denver head coach Sean Payton said in March that there's a "realistic" possibility that his team could trade up to draft a quarterback. The Broncos have a major need at the position. They released Russell Wilson this offseason and have Zach Wilson, Jarrett Stidham, and Ben DiNucci on their depth chart. Wilson joined in a trade from the New York Jets this week.

The 6-foot-3 McCarthy helped Michigan go 15-0 and win the national title this past season. The 21-year-old passed for 44 touchdowns against nine interceptions in his final two campaigns to go along with eight TDs on the ground.

Manning said Tuesday that he reached out to McCarthy and was impressed by the promising signal-caller.

"I never met him, but we invited him to our football camp, and (head coach Jim) Harbaugh wouldn't let him miss a workout, so he didn't get to go," Manning said. "So I just reached out and said, 'Hey, man, congratulations, wish you the best of luck in your next chapter.'"

Manning added: "I just wished him luck, and he said, 'Hey, I'd love to ask you some questions.' So he called me back, and he was impressive to talk to."

Manning played the final four seasons of his decorated NFL career for the Broncos and helped Denver make two Super Bowl appearances, winning one of them.

McCarthy recently said that the Broncos would be a solid fit for him, adding that Payton had "great words of advice" in the pre-draft process, according to CBS Sports' Cody Benjamin.

The Chicago Bears are expected to select Williams first overall, while the Washington Commanders are also projected to pick a quarterback at No. 2. The New England Patriots have a major need at QB but are reportedly open to trading their No. 3 pick. The Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants are other teams apparently trying to trade up for a top-five passer.

theScore's latest NFL mock draft projects Denver to move up to No. 10 and land McCarthy.

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