Jim Harbaugh makes ‘early prediction’ for first QB taken in 2024 NFL Draft

Jim Harbaugh makes ‘early prediction’ for first QB taken in 2024 NFL Draft

Jim Harbaugh is no longer the coach of the Michigan Wolverines, but he still bleeds maize and blue. 

Harbaugh, one day after his introduction as head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers head coach, joined “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on Friday and sang the praises of the quarterback who helped him bring a national championship to Ann Arbor. 

J.J. McCarthy, #9 of the Michigan Wolverines, runs off the field at halftime in the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the Big Ten Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 2, 2023, in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

“Arm talent, athleticism, ‘it’ factor, winning with numbing repetition. Don’t be surprised if, when he goes, he’s the number one quarterback off the board,” Harbaugh said of J.J. McCarthy. 

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“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. . . .  That’s an early prediction for the 2024 NFL Draft.”

McCarthy announced in January that he would enter the draft after three years at Michigan. 

“After three incredible years at the University of Michigan, I have decided to enter the 2024 NFL Draft,” McCarthy’s statement read. 

“I have talked to many in and out of football, including my family, Coach Harbaugh, and many whose opinions I greatly admire and respect. This decision was not easy and how could it be – I love my teammates, I love my coaches and I love it here in Ann Arbor.”

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Michigan celebrates a national championship

J.J. McCarthy, #9, and Head Coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines celebrate after defeating the Washington Huskies during the 2024 CFP National Championship game at NRG Stadium on January 8, 2024, in Houston, Texas.  (Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

McCarthy has a tough road ahead to being selected as the first quarterback in the draft with Caleb Williams, Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels also in the mix. 

Williams is projected to go No. 1 to the Chicago Bears, Maye to the Washington Commanders, and Daniels to the New England Patriots, according to the NFL Network. 

NFL Network’s mock draft has McCarthy going to the Los Angeles Rams with the 19th pick. 

Harbaugh will be going from McCarthy to Justin Herbert under center, who is coming off a season-ending injury to his throwing hand. 

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Jim Harbaugh stands with Chargers owner Dean Spanos

(L-R) Owner and chairman of the board Dean Spanos and Newly appointed head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Los Angeles Chargers pose during a press conference at YouTube Theater on February 1, 2024, in Inglewood, California.  (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Herbert had surgery to repair a fractured right index finger in December. 

“The thing that’s hitting me is enormous talent,” Harbaugh told reporters in reference to Herbert. “I’m waking up real early in the morning these days like, ‘I got to bring it.’ I got to bring my A-game. I got to get a coaching staff hired that’s worthy of coaching Justin, Derwin [James] and all the guys. I’m really thinking about my accountability and making sure that I’m ready.”

Harbaugh is returning to the NFL 10 years after his tenure with the San Francisco 49ers came to an end. 

Fox News’ Scott Thompson and Chantz Martin contributed to this report.

Joe Morgan is a Sports Reporter for Fox News.

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