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Maye Has the Intangibles to Be a Franchise QB | Commanders NFL Draft

Updated: Dec 28, 2023


Written By Adam Aniba


This year's quarterback draft class is viewed as promising, particularly in Round 1. USC's Caleb Williams, LSU's Jayden Daniels and Washington's Michael Penix Jr. are 3-4 QBs expected to be drafted in the top 25.


UNC's Drake Maye might just be the best signal caller in the class though and should challenge for the first quarterback selected in the 2024 NFL Draft.


Drake Maye

6'4" 230 lbs | QB | UNC

Draft Proj 1st Rd

Career (30 games618/952 8,018 yds for 63 TDs & 16 ints

*(Rushing) 302 att for 1,209 yds with 16 TDs

2023 (12 games269/425 3,608 yds for 24 TDs & 9 ints

*(Rushing112 att for 449 yds with 9 TDs

Background

Maye grew up in Huntersville, NC and was the star quarterback for Park High School.


He also was a three-year standout on the hardwood, averaging 16.1 points and 11.3 rebounds per game and earned All-Conference and All-District honors in basketball.


The Park Hill QB helped lead his team to a 13-2 record and a trip to the state semifinals during his last season. He concluded his career with 6,713 yards passing and 86 TDs in a two year span.


For his efforts Maye was named First-Team All-Observer and the Observer’s Male Athlete of the Year. In addition he received an invite to play in the Under Armour All-America Game and was a Sports Illustrated All-American candidate.


Maye was ranked as the nations number 57 overall high school prospect and the nations number 6 ranked pro-style quarterback. The Park High signal caller was ranked as a 4-star recruit by ESPN. Maye was heavily recruited and opted to play for North Carolina.


As a true freshman in 2021, Maye saw action in only 2 games for the Tar Heels. He registered only for 89 yards and 1 TD on 10 attempts with an average of 8.9 yards per pass with a QB rating of 130.8.


In '22 as a redshirt freshman, Maye was the unquestioned starter and played in all 13 games. He finished the season with 4,087 passing yards and 34 total touchdowns.


Maye finished the season with a completion percentage of 66.6 for an average of 8.5 yards per pass and a stellar QB rating of 110.4.

Despite being sacked 41 times in 2022, Maye rushed 143 times for 833 yards with a 5.8 yard per rush average in '22. He helped the Tar Heels to a 9-1 start and their second-ever ACC Championship Game.


Despite a dip in production, Maye threw for 3,608 yards for 24 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in 12 games this season. He also rushed 112 times for 449 yards, which resulted on 9 rushing touchdowns.


Maye’s tape was much improved and looked every bit an NFL franchise signal caller this season.


Every draft hopeful needs that highlight play to hang their hat on, look no further than UNC vs PITT (9/23/23) game.

The Tar Heel quarterback is 2nd all-time in UNC history with twelve 300-yard passing games, fifth all-time in passing touchdowns (60) and total offense with 8,591 total yards. He also ranks sixth in passing yards (7,555) and career completions (580). 


Awards & Accolades

  • 2023 Maxwell Award Semifinalist

  • 2023 Preseason ACC Player of the Year choice

  • 2023 2X ACC Player of the Week winner

  • 2023 Manning Award winner week 6

  • 2022 ACC Player of the Year

  • 2022 ACC Offensive Player of the Year

  • 2022 First-Team All-ACC

  • 2022 ACC Rookie of the Year

  • 2022 Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year

  • 2022 FWAA Freshman of the Year

  • 2022 FWAA Freshman All-American

  • 2022 Manning Award Finalist

  • 2022 Maxwell Award Semifinalist

  • 2022 Davey O'Brien Award Semifinalist

PROS

  • Displays the ability to make all the throws required on the next level (short/intermediate/long ball)

  • Unquestionable arm strength with the ability to fit the ball into tight windows

  • Natural athlete with the size, speed & athleticism to make plays as a runner in the open field

  • Thrives on getting safeties to bite when looking them off as he goes through hs progressions

  • Although can stand tall and deliver strikes from the pocket, at his best when creating outside the pocket


CONS

  • Tends to lose accuracy when throwing on the run

  • Needs to speed up mental clock and be more decisive with his reads

  • Needs to improve overall footwork

  • Too often passes up the high percentage check-down and needs to take what the defense gives him

  • Pre-snap adjustment/shifts by the defense led to confusion for the QB at times


Outlook

Maye has all the attributes NFL teams covet in a franchise signal caller. Cutting down on his hero ball mentality is something coaches will need to work with him on.


Taking what defenses give him and throwing the ball away if nothing is available, must be his focus early on while he adjusts to the speed of the pros.


Furthermore, his athletic ability is intriguing and he must be accounted for as a runner on every down.


As with any rookie quarterback, Maye will deal with his share of hiccups, but his ability to make all the throws required in the NFL should lead to early success for the Tar Heel signal caller.


*GAMES WATCHED*

12/3/22 vs Clemson, 12/28/22 vs Oregon (Holiday Bowl), 9/2/23 vs S. Carolina, 9/23/23 vs Pitt, 11/11/23 vs Duke & 11/25/23 vs N.C. St.



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