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#pounditSunday, June 16, 2024

Does Jim Harbaugh have a secret draft strategy?

Jim Harbaugh being introduced by the Chargers

Feb 1, 2024; Inglewood, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers coach Jim Harbaugh speaks at an introductory press conference at YouTube Theater at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Harbaugh has been preparing for his first NFL Draft as the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers, and some are starting to wonder if he has a secret strategy.

Harbaugh has gone out of his way to praise former Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy on multiple occasions this offseason. That is hardly a surprise considering McCarthy just helped Harbaugh win a national title with the Wolverines a few months ago. What is also noteworthy, however, is that Harbaugh would directly benefit from McCarthy being selected with one of the first four picks in the upcoming draft.

The Chargers have the No. 5 overall pick. Harbaugh told reporters on Monday that he is excited about his team’s spot in the draft because “there is talk of four QBs going in the first four picks.” If that happens, L.A. will be able to draft the player they believe is the best non-quarterback in the country.

That is why it is in Harbaugh’s best interest to boost McCarthy’s stock as much as he possibly can. Harbaugh would probably have nothing but great things to say about McCarthy even if the Chargers did not have the No. 5 pick, but would the coach be going out of his way this much to convince teams that McCarthy is the best quarterback in the country? Maybe not.

Keep in mind that the Chargers recently traded Keenan Allen and lost Mike Williams in free agency. They could really use a wide receiver, and Marvin Harrison Jr. will be on the board at No. 5 if Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye and McCarthy (or another quarterback) are the first four picks in some order.

Harbaugh’s latest claim about McCarthy may have been the coach’s most dramatic yet. Perhaps that is all just part of the strategy.

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