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Harbaugh Era Ends With Best Draft Class in Michigan History

Harbaugh era

The NFL Draft has ended after Jaylen Key, a safety from Alabama, had his name called as the No. 257 overall pick by the New York Jets. With that pick Jim Harbaugh’s era at Michigan has officially ended. It was an era that had way too many twists and turns to count but, in the end, could have not ended any better.

Harbaugh lead Michigan to its first national championship since 1997 but left Ann Arbor to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers. The only thing left to wrap up his tenure at his alma mater was to watch his former players go through the draft—a draft class that could be considered the best in school history.

Previously, the most players the Wolverines had drafted into the NFL in a single draft class was 11 in 2017. On Saturday, with the help of Harbaugh, Michigan's NFL Draft class of 2024 broke that record by having 13 players selected to play at the next level. After tying the record through the first 251 picks, EDGE Jaylen Harrell broke the record after being picked No. 252 overall by the Tennessee Titans. Then at No. 253, the "Michigan Man" himself selected wide receiver Cornelius Johnson to join him with the Chargers to give the Wolverines 13 players picked in the draft.


The 2024 draft had a least one Michigan players' name called in almost every round. Quarterback JJ McCarthy was the first Michigan player selected at No. 10 by the Minnesota Vikings. 

“Who’s got it better than us? Nobody!” - Former Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh

Michigan not only set the record for total players picked overall in program history, it also set the record for most players picked in the first three rounds in program history. Day one and two saw a total of seven Michigan players come off the board, with one going in the first round, two in the second and four in the third to set the record. 

Harbaugh era

McCarthy also set the record for the highest Michigan QB taken in program history. McCarthy came into the draft as one of the most hyped players and was projected to go anywhere from No. 1-12 but ended up going 10.  McCarthy is only the second Michigan QB ever taken in the first round—the other being his former head coach who was selected No. 26 overall by the Chicago Bears in 1987.

Michigan over its storied history has now had a total of 414 players drafted to the NFL. Michigan also had their streak to 87 consecutive NFL drafts with at least one player drafted continue. In his nine years as Michigan coach Harbaugh has sent a total of 65 players to the NFL. Harbaugh was able to move past legendary coach Lloyd Carr—who had 61 players selected—thanks to a big seventh round when four players' names were called.     

Harbaugh gave Michigan faithful one last weekend to remember and what a way to do it. With the city of Detroit in there home state of Michigan hosting the NFL draft for the first time in its history. This past weekend Michigan fans were treated to a little of everything from watching their former coach signing his alma mater's fight song to being honored for winning the national championship before day two kicked off.

Harbaugh might have led Michigan fans down a rollercoaster of emotions in his final year, but it ended in the best way it could have and  because of that he will always be a "Michigan Man."   



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