Jim Harbaugh hyping J.J. McCarthy as a top 5 pick...so are the Commanders

J.J. McCarthy could go as high as No. 2.

2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington
2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Former Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy is turning the big 3 of the 2024 NFL Draft quarterback class into the big 4.  After leading the Wolverines to a national title, an eye-opening NFL Combine workout and a successful pro day, NFL teams drafting high in the draft have something to think about.

Will it be Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels or McCarthy? 

A good problem to have if you are a team with a top 3 pick.  But, has McCarthy’s rise into the conversation of a top 5 pick overhyped or was he undervalued to begin with.  His former coach, Jim Harbaugh, isn’t surprised of the hype.  In fact, he added to the hype lauding McCarthy as the QB who “plays quarterback the best” of that group.

In coaching McCarthy, the Los Angeles Chargers head coach knows him very well and believes he is only helping himself with strong workouts, particularly the Michigan Pro Day which gave NFL teams a chance to see who J.J. McCarthy is as a player and a leader.

“You hear coaches and GMs come up to me and say, 'Hey, great job with J.J,'" Harbaugh said, via NFL.com. "Like I predicted, once they were around him, I was hearing the stories about how he was on the board, how he is on the field, the little things, the intangibles. It was absolutely no surprise whatsoever, but there was raving.

"It was great to hear and incredible to hear, and I know it's sincere. It was unsolicited. There (were) numerous GMs, numerous head coaches who couldn't say enough good things. … You could just see it."

NFL Draft rumors: Commanders strongly considering selecting J.J. McCarthy at No. 2

With teams like the Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos and New England Patriots linked as teams who could select McCarthy, there are already plenty of rumors as far as teams trading up or even trading back to select the Michigan star.  But what if the Washington Commanders take him at No. 2.

That would give a team like the Patriots quite a choice to make in deciding between Daniels and Maye.  But that would leave one of the original top 3 quarterbacks available further down the draft than expected.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero threw that nugget out there on Monday with speculation that Commanders new general manager Adam Peters is leaning towards turning all mock drafts upside down and selecting McCarthy.

"It'll be really interesting because everybody's always trying to figure out, especially at the top of the draft, what the other teams are doing," Pelissero said. "When I've had conversations here with executives for other teams who know Adam Peters well, who know the situation well, the most popular answer for what they do at No. 2 is J.J. McCarthy. So, a lot of drama still to come."

There will be a lot of drama indeed, fun drama depending on which team you are a fan of.  Commanders’ fandom has been set between the choice of Maye and Daniels since before the NFL Combine and now it could be McCarthy who, like Harbaugh said, is the best of the group when it comes to quarterbacking. 

Coming off a final season at Michigan in which he threw for 2,991 yards and 22 touchdowns, a team can’t go wrong with drafting a prospect with the combination of talent, leadership and toughness as McCarthy, but as high as No. 2?  Well, that is how impressive he has been, and he has a believer in Harbaugh and apparently winning over GMs throughout the NFL.