National Football League
Jim Harbaugh predicts Michigan's J.J. McCarthy will be first QB taken in draft
National Football League

Jim Harbaugh predicts Michigan's J.J. McCarthy will be first QB taken in draft

Published Feb. 2, 2024 2:54 p.m. ET

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy is among several quarterbacks who have thrown their hats into the 2024 NFL Draft ring.

When might McCarthy hear his name on draft night? According to McCarthy's college head coach, he won't be waiting around for long.

"Arm talent, athleticism, it-factor, winning with numbing repetition. Don't be surprised if, when he's the No. 1 quarterback off the board. That's my prediction right now," Jim Harbaugh told Colin Cowherd about McCarthy on Friday's edition of "The Herd." "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."


McCarthy was a two-year starter at Michigan, helping it win the College Football National Championship following the 2023 season. McCarthy totaled 2,991 passing yards, 22 passing touchdowns, four interceptions and a 167.4 passer rating, while completing 72.3% of his passes this season. He also ran for 202 yards and three touchdowns. The Wolverines went a combined 28-1 with McCarthy at quarterback.

Jim Harbaugh lays out blueprint for Justin Herbert, Chargers

Harbaugh recently left Michigan after winning the championship to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers.

Caleb Williams (USC), Jayden Daniels (LSU), Drake Maye (UNC), Michael Penix Jr. (Washington) and Bo Nix (Oregon) are among the quarterbacks McCarthy is stacked up against in this year's draft process.

Concerning who could select McCarthy, the first three selections of the draft figure to be quarterbacks. The Chicago Bears will likely take Williams with the No. 1 pick or trade the pick to a team that will indeed select the 2022 Heisman winner. 

After the pivotal decision at No. 1, the Washington Commanders (No. 2) and New England Patriots (No. 3) each have new head coaches and an uncertain future at quarterback. The Atlanta Falcons could also be a landing spot for McCarthy at No. 8, as they too have a new head coach (Raheem Morris) and shuffled quarterbacks Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke this season.

Harbaugh's Chargers select fifth but are highly unlikely to take McCarthy given the presence of Justin Herbert, who signed a five-year, $262.5 million extension last offseason.

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