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Raiders draft 2024: What if Jim Harbaugh is right about J.J. McCarthy?

A surprise rise by Michigan quarterback could help Las Vegas

2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington
Jim Harbaugh, J.J. McCarthy
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Earlier this offseason, new Los Angeles Chargers coach Jim Harbaugh made a bold prediction by saying he believes his quarterback at Michigan, JJ McCarthy, will be the first quarterback taken in the April draft.

Harbaugh’s prediction, of course, caused some eyebrows to raise because most NFL draft observers don’t consider McCarthy as a top three quarterback. The current general consensus is the top quarterback prospects are USC’s Caleb Williams, North Carolina’s Drake Maye and LSU’s Jayden Daniels. McCarthy has been considered in the second tier of rookie quarterbacks along with Oregon’s Bo Nix and Washington’s Michael Penix.

So, it would be quite wild if McCarthy jumps to the top of the quarterback ladder in the coming weeks.

So, what if Harbaugh is right and McCarthy does make a huge jump to the top of the draft?

For starters, it could be a good thing for the Las Vegas Raiders.

Las Vegas, of course, has a big need at quarterback and currently own the No. 13 draft pick. Williams, Maye and Daniels are currently expected to be taken at the top of the draft because the teams with the top three picks — the Chicago Bears, Washington Commanders and the New England Patriots — are expected to take quarterbacks.

So, that, of course, will make it difficult for the Raiders to try to move up and trade to draft one of these top quarterback targets. Also, it would make it difficult for the Raiders to get a quarterback they feel is worth taking unless they fall in love with someone like Nix.

So, if McCarthy does make a big jump, it would benefit the Raiders. So, let’s say McCarthy goes in the top two picks, it would drop a top prospect (probably either Maye or Daniels) to, at least, No. 4.

The teams picking fourth (Arizona Cardinals) and No. 5 (Los Angeles Chargers) aren’t expected to take a quarterback, they will either opt for players at other positions or be open to trade to take advantage of a falling quarterback.

For the sake argument here, say that one of these quarterbacks falls to No. 6 where the New York Giants could possibly take a quarterback of trade the pick and that’s where the Raiders might be able to strike.

Moving up from No. 13 to No. 6 is doable especially if a franchise quarterback is the target.

This might be the Raiders’ best chance to find a top quarterback prospect. So, yes, they should be rooting for Harbaugh’s bold prediction to come true.