Jim Harbaugh predicts J.J. McCarthy will be the No. 1 quarterback off the board

College coaches tend to talk up their draft-eligible players, because the coaches want to be viewed as being able to develop players into high-end selections. Former Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, now with the Chargers, has no reason to sell his Michigan men.

He is anyway.

Appearing on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Harbaugh said this about quarterback J.J. McCarthy: "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."

My early prediction is he won't. My early prediction is that McCarthy will be on the board when the Chargers make their pick at No. 5. My early prediction is that Harbaugh won't take McCarthy and keep him for four years as the backup to Justin Herbert, grooming McCarthy and eventually flipping him.

While players indeed rise and fall when coaches get more involved in the pre-draft process — and when the media catches up to what the teams actually think — it's hard to imagine McCarthy vaulting to the very top of the stack.