The Wolverine

February 2024

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FEBRUARY 2024 ❱ THE WOLVERINE 41 BY ANTHONY BROOME U -M has a chance to have a quarter- back drafted in the first round in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft, which hasn't happened since current head coach Jim Harbaugh was selected by the Chicago Bears with the 26th overall pick in 1987. J.J. McCarthy — who an- nounced Jan. 14 that he was forgoing his senior season in order to enter the NFL Draft — could make that happen, and potentially go even higher if some mock draft scenarios come to pass. One of them comes from The Ath- letic's Dane Brugler following the NFL Draft early entry deadline. In his latest mock, he has McCarthy coming off the board with the 19th overall selection to the Los Angeles Rams as the heir appar- ent to Matthew Stafford. "Going into Aaron Rodgers' age-36 season, the Packers made a forward- thinking pick and drafted their quar- terback of the future (Jordan Love) in the back half of Round 1," Brugler said. "Going into Matthew Stafford's age-36 season, the Rams might be in a posi- tion to follow the same approach. Who knows when Stafford will hang 'em up, but with his injury past, the Rams at least need to consider it. "There is a wide range of opinions on McCarthy's projection and draft value. Michigan didn't ask him to con- sistently push the ball downfield, but he was outstanding on money downs and will have the word 'winner' bolded and highlighted in his scouting report (27-1 career record with a national ti- tle). Though I think he'll have mostly second-round grades, McCarthy's tools and intangibles could get him into the top 25." McCarthy could match or eclipse his head coach, but could also fall some- where into the second round. That would put him in the running to be se- lected somewhere close to Michigan's second-highest quarterback selected since Harbaugh in Chad Henne, who went 57th overall to the Miami Dolphins in 2007. (Todd Collins was drafted 45th overall by Buffalo in 1995.) Since then, Michigan has had only a single quarterback drafted. That desig- nation went to Jake Rudock, who was a seventh-round selection of the Detroit Lions in 2016. Two other Wolverines went in Bru- gler's mock draft, with defensive tackle Kris Jenkins coming off the board at No. 37 overall to the Los Angeles Chargers and linebacker Junior Colson heading to the Philadelphia Eagles with the 50th overall pick. "The Chargers could use a little bit of everything, including depth on the de- fensive line," Brugler said. "The son of a four-time Pro Bowler, Jenkins has an interchangeable skill set to play multiple spots at a starter-quality level." He said of Colson: "The Eagles must add more talent to their linebacker room — and in this scenario, there hasn't been an off-ball linebacker drafted yet. With his play style and mentality, Colson would check a lot of boxes." Michigan is expected to have a heavy contingent of players selected in the 2024 NFL Draft, which is set for April 25-27 from Detroit. ❱  MICHIGAN FOOTBALL J.J. McCarthy Goes In First Round Of The Athletic's Post-Decision Mock Draft J.J. McCarthy, who announced Jan. 14 that he was forgoing his senior season to enter the 2024 NFL Draft, could be the first Michigan QB selected in the first round since none other than his head coach Jim Harbaugh (26th to the Chicago Bears in 1987). PHOTO BY DOMINICK SOKOTOFF

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