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Jim Harbaugh Predicts J.J. McCarthy is the First QB Selected in 2024 Draft

Colin Cowherd: “I have to ask you about JJ McCarthy as a kid, how do you think he’ll do? What does he bring to the table that maybe I can’t see as a TV viewer?” 

Jim Harbaugh: “Arm talent, athleticism, ‘IT’ factor, winning with numbing repetition. Don’t be surprised when he’s the number one quarterback off the board. That’s my prediction right now. When people get a load of JJ, and how he can throw the ball, how he spins it, his athleticism, his intelligence, ‘IT’ factor, ‘he’s got it’, the competitiveness that he has... And they get around him and they really start digging in and talking to him – that's an early prediction for the 2024 NFL Draft.” 

Watch newly introduced Los Angeles Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh discuss his former Michigan Wolverines National Championship-winning quarterback JJ McCarthy, and make a bold prediction on The Herd with Colin Cowherd on why McCarthy will be the first quarterback selected in April’s 2024 NFL Draft.

Harbaugh’s bold take would likely be the biggest long shot in Draft history, as USC quarterback Caleb Williams currently sits as a –1200 favorite to be selected first overall on Fan Duel, with McCarthy all the back at 150-1. 

McCarthy’s stock, however, will likely rise in the coming months as he jockeys for position in a deep quarterback draft among names the likes of Williams, UNC’s Drake Maye, LSU’s Jayden Daniels, Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., Oregon’s Bo Nix, South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler, Tulane’s Michael Pratt, Tennessee’s Joe Milton III, and Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman.  

McCarthy ranked just 35th in passing yards and 37th in touchdowns nationally in 2023, but he ranked 3rd in the nation in QBR for a Wolverines offense who ranked 7th in the NCAA in rush attempts. 

McCarthy finished his final season at Michigan with a 22/4 touchdown-to-interception ratio, 72.3% completion percentage, and his Wolverines won the National Championship with a perfect 15-0 record.  On the ground McCarthy added 202 yards rushing, and three touchdowns.

Teams more than likely expected to take a quarterback in the first round are the Bears at #1, Commanders at #2, Patriots at #3, and potentially the Giants at #6, Falcons at #8, Jets at #10, Broncos at #12, Raiders at #13, Saints at #14, Seahawks at #16, Steelers at #20, and Bucs at #26.

Harbaugh, ironically, was the last Michigan quarterback to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, going no. 26 to the Chicago Bears in the 1987 NFL Draft.

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