by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Tarheel Blog.
The NFL Draft talk never ends, and we are here at Draft 412 in an effort to keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars. From today until draft night 2024, we will bring you mocks, profiles, team needs, and everything else related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - UNC Quarterback Drake Maye
Name- Drake Maye
Team- North Carolina
HT/WT- 6’5” 220 lbs
Home – Charlotte, NC
Drake Maye was a standout quarterback at Myers Park High School in Charlotte, NC and put up some huge numbers over his high school career. As a sophomore in 2018, Maye threw for 3,062 yards and 36 touchdowns. He would add height and weight going into his junior year and accumulate even better numbers, throwing for 3,585 yards and 50 touchdowns. Maye’s senior season was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, but he was still able to throw for 1,937 yards and 26 touchdowns in just seven games. Maye finished his high school career as a 4-star prospect and ultimately decided to “stay home” with the Tar Heels after originally committing to Alabama.
Maye redshirted in his first season playing in 4 games, which is the maximum he could play and still be redshirted. In 2022, after incumbent quarterback, Sam Howell, decided to leave for the NFL, Maye won the starting quarterback job and rack up gaudy numbers right away. In his first game against Florida A&M, Maye completed 29 of 37 passes for 294 yards and 5 touchdowns. The 5 touchdowns were the most in North Carolina history by a quarterback making his first start.
Maye went on to throw for 4,321 yards, breaking the record held by Mitch Trubisky. Maye also threw for 39 touchdowns and rushed for 698 yards, finishing 10th in the Heisman trophy voting and taking home the ACC player of the year award.
Maye’s combination of size, arm strength, and accuracy make him a highly intriguing NFL prospect. At 6’5” 220 lbs., he has the prototypical size of an NFL quarterback. His arm strength is evident on deep passes and he delivers the ball on-time and effortlessly. His accuracy is pin-point and at this early point in the 2024 scouting season, Maye could possibly be the best in this upcoming class.
As a passer, Maye fits the ball into tight windows, giving his receivers their best chance to make a play. His timing and anticipation are good, and he tends to throw balls before receivers even make their breaks.
Besides possessing the size and arm strength to make it in the NFL, Maye is very athletic. He’s a capable runner who can pick up extra yards with his size, much like Jalen Hurts or Josh Allen. He’s no burner, but has the footwork and power to make defenders miss.
If he has a weakness, Maye needs to improve his decision-making skills. He holds onto the ball longer than he should and take unnecessary sacks, which won’t play in the NFL. Also, he needs to work on reading defenses and not locking onto his main receiver—the bane of many rookie quarterbacks. He locks onto his receiver too quickly and misses bigger opportunities from time to time.
Prototypical size- 6’5” 220 lbs.
Elite arm strength.
Accuracy is on-point, gets the ball to receivers in good spots.
A good enough runner to get extra yards when play breaks down.
Decision making needs improvement.
Needs to learn defenses better, learn how to look off safeties.
Unnecessary sacks by holding onto the ball too long.
Lock on receivers too fast. Interceptions that should not happen..
Drake Maye is Draft 412’s #2 ranked quarterback behind USC QB-Caleb Williams. We see Maye being a top 5 pick in the draft. With a big season, there is a possibility that Maye leapfrogs over Williams, but that will not be easy. If you are a fan of Chargers' QB, Justin Herbert, you will like Drake Maye.
Prediction- Top 5 pick in 2024.