What's at Stake for Michigan Football Players at the NFL Combine

December 31, 2022; Glendale, Ariz; USA; Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy (9) throws a pass during
December 31, 2022; Glendale, Ariz; USA; Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy (9) throws a pass during / Patrick Breen/The Republic / USA TODAY
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This week NFL teams and top prospects gather in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine. Over the course of a week, players will meet with teams, go through medical exams, and perform various physical tests in hopes of improving their draft stock.

Outside of the context of sports, the idea of having job candidates walk shirtless across a stage to weigh in while being placed in front of their potential future employers really is a strange practice. But this week, how the draft prospects run, jump, and look shirtless could mean the difference in them making or losing millions of dollars.

This year, Michigan footbal set the record with 18 players invited to the NFL Combine, more than any other school has ever had in a single year. Every one of those players has a lot to potentially gain from a good performance. Here is a breakdown of what is at stake for several former Wolverines.

J.J. McCarthy

Perhaps no one has more to potentially gain from this week than J.J. McCarthy. Jim Harbaugh said a few weeks ago that he felt once NFL teams got around J.J. they would fall in love with him and he would be the first quarterback taken in this year's draft. While his hometown team the Chicago Bears do hold the first overall pick, McCarthy is definitely a huge long shot to be the first quarterback taken. This week is however the week that he finally gets in front of NFL teams and can showcase what Harbaugh and Michigan football fans already know about him.

It might seem weird to Michigan fans, but no prospect has been more polarizing this year than McCarthy. The mild-mannered midwestern kid has been a staple of stability for Michigan football for the past three seasons. He's been a great leader and played at a consistently high level. Yet, he hasn't had the chance to throw the ball around as much as some of the other quarterbacks in this class and many in the NFL are concerned about his lack of size. People have a perception of Michigan as a running team and don't think that J.J. can carry an NFL offense.

This week he has a chance to impress NFL general managers with his charisma and professionalism in meetings, show off his throwing ability with many of the other top quarterbacks choosing not to do so, and flash his athleticism in events such as the 40-yard dash. It was only a few years ago that we saw the highlight of McCarthy outrun everyone on a play to set a block that led to a 67-yard Blake Corum touchdown and I wouldn't be surprised if his testing numbers impressed a lot of people. This week is going to reveal a lot in terms of where he potentially gets taken in the draft.