Jim Harbaugh on why J.J. McCarthy should be in play for Falcons

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 08 CFP National Championship Michigan vs Washington

The Falcons remain in QB purgatory where it feels like they have been forever, even if it has only been a couple of years. If they are ever to get serious about being contenders, that has to change, and there’s no better time to fix the most glaring issue surrounding the team than right now.

The problem is there isn’t an obvious path to fixing the situation like it seemed there might be for the Falcons a few months ago. It’s very possible the top three quarterbacks in the class are off the board within the first three picks. Free agency is slim pickings, especially if Kirk Cousins and Baker Mayfield remain with their current teams. Justin Fields is an intriguing option, but does he fit what Zac Robinson is attempting to implement in Atlanta as the new offensive coordinator?

Robinson is the next branch on the infamous Shanahan coaching tree, known for some of the best offensive minds in the game today. However, when you look around the league at the quarterbacks that run those offenses, they all feature ultra-accurate passers — Brock PurdyTua Tagovailoa, Matthew Stafford, Jordan Love, etc. That’s not exactly who Justin Fields has ever been. The fit might not be there, as much as some Falcons fans hope for Fields to be under center next season. 

It’s not an ideal situation, but one guy that could shake things up quite a bit is J.J. McCarthy, who Jim Harbaugh believes will go #1 overall in the draft.

Obviously, Harbaugh is going to stick up for the quarterback that just helped lead his previous team to a National Championship, but when you listen to it, there’s a lot of truth to what he’s saying.

McCarthy is one of the younger quarterbacks in the class. He’s accurate, athletic, poised, and a pure gamer. He never flinched at any point during his time at Michigan, and there were moments where he could have, like when he had to lead a touchdown drive in the final two minutes against one of the best defenses in the country at the Rose Bowl to give his team a shot in overtime.

Now, I’m not dumb enough to believe the Bears are going to take McCarthy over someone like Caleb Williams first overall. That would be the quickest way for a general manager to get fired and never appear again if it didn’t work out. However, maybe there is some possibility a team falls in love with him over a player like Jayden Daniels, making Daniels a possibility for the Falcons.

Moreover, what if McCarthy falls to the Falcons at eight? Could he be the pick? I don’t think it’s as crazy as some people might believe right now. McCarthy checks a lot of the boxes members of the Shanahan coaching tree prefer in their quarterbacks, and Harbaugh seems to believe he will blow teams away throughout the interview process.

While others are enamored with Michael Penix Jr, who led a high-flying offensive attack out in Washington, I actually think it’s going to be McCarthy that surprises a lot of people leading up to the draft. Harbaugh might sound crazy now, but don’t be surprised if someone falls in love with him in the top 10, and it might just end up being the Falcons.

Photo: David Buono/Icon Sportswire


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