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Jim Harbaugh suggests J.J. McCarthy will get drafted ahead of Caleb Williams in 2024 NFL Draft

J.J. McCarthy
Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

We’re still over two months away from the start of the 2024 NFL Draft, where Caleb Williams is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick by the Chicago Bears. But what about J.J. McCarthy? The Michigan Wolverines quarterback is fresh off winning the College Football Playoff National Championship, but that doesn’t automatically make him a top NFL Draft prospect.

Yet, don’t tell that to his former head coach Jim Harbaugh, who just took a new job with the Los Angeles Chargers. With Justin Herbert entrenched as the Chargers’ franchise quarterback, there is no need for Harbaugh to draft McCarthy, but now the coach is saying Los Angeles won’t even get a chance to select the former Michigan QB, even if they wanted to.

Related: Is J.J. McCarthy a first-round pick? Find out in Sportsnaut’s latest 2024 NFL Mock Draft

Could J.J. McCarthy be the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft?

j.j. mccarthy
Credit: Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

J.J. McCarthy’s NFL Draft stock ranges all over the place. Some view him as a fringe first-round pick, while others see him as a Day 2 selection. Not Jim Harbaugh though.

Harbaugh has viewed McCarthy as a superstar ever since the QB took over starting duties at Michigan. Just look at his quotes from back in October, before the Wolverines even won the National Championship.

“I feel like I stand corrected from what I’ve been saying the last several months, which is I think J.J. is a once-in-a-generation quarterback, J.J. has shown to be on path to be the best quarterback in Michigan history.”

Jim Harbaugh on J.J. McCarthy (Oct .2023)

Then, in November, Harbaugh likened McCarthy’s preparation to Tom Brady, another former Michigan QB turned legend. But now that Coach Harbaugh is no longer employed by Michigan, one might think his overwhelming praise for the Wolverines’ former QB would stop, only that hasn’t been the case. At all.

Instead, Harbaugh is still singing McCarthy’s praises, even going as far as to say he should be the first QB off the board in April’s NFL Draft.

“Arm talent, athleticism, ‘it’ factor, winning with numbing repetition. Don’t be surprised when he — if/when he goes to — he’s the No. 1 quarterback off the board. That’s my prediction right now. When people get a load of J.J., and how he can throw the ball, how he spins it, his athleticism, his intelligence. Talk about ‘it’ factor. He’s got it. The competitiveness that he has. And they get around him, and they really start digging in, and they start talking to him. Yeah, that’s an early prediction for the 2024 NFL draft.”

Jim Harbaugh on J.J. McCarthy’s draft stock

You just can’t make this stuff up. Saying McCarthy will be drafted higher than the likes of Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels is absurd.

While it only takes one team to fall in love with a prospect, it’s hard to see a franchise picking McCarthy over any of the three names listed above. Heck, McCarthy might not even be taken before Oregon’s Bo Nix or Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., but we’ll all find out soon enough, when the 2024 NFL Draft takes place between April 25-27.

Related: Oregon’s Bo Nix’s Senior Bowl practices go from bad to worse

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