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2024 Rookie Profile – Drake Maye – Quarterback

Drake Maye is one of the top QBs in the class - how does his game translate to the NFL?

North Carolina followed up Sam Howell with Drake Maye, and the offense actually became more proficient. Maye pushed the ball downfield and led the Tarheel offense to massive scoring outputs over 2022 and 2023. 

Howell fell in the draft, although nobody projected him to be a top-five pick, and now it appears the buzz on Maye may lead him to drop a little, too. Should there be doubts about Maye and what he can bring to an NFL franchise? 


  • College: North Carolina
  • Height: 6’5”
  • Weight: 220 lbs. 
  • Age: 21 (August 30, 2002)
  • Year: Junior
  • Draft Projection: Early First Round

College Career

Passing Table
Year G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate

Maye was a four-star prospect, the third-ranked player in North Carolina, and chose to stay close to home. He was a football and baseball standout at Myers Park High School and had multiple offers from many top schools, including Alabama, Clemson, and Georgia.

Maye started every game in his redshirt freshman season, 2022, and was a Freshman All-American and Manning Award finalist. He also won the ACC Player of the Year, ACC Offensive Player of the Year, ACC Rookie of the Year, and ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year – the first to do that since Jameis Winston in 2013. Maye threw for 4,321 yards and 38 scores and tacked on 698 yards rushing with seven rushing scores for good measure. 

The 2023 season brought a step back, as Maye lost several key weapons, most notably Josh Downs – his top receiver in 2022. His accolades were fewer as Maye threw for 3,608 yards and 24 TDs and rushed for 449 yards additionally. It was not as prolific of an output and led to many doubters. 

The tape for 2023 wasn’t as impressive, but Maye fought to find reliable receiving options, and running back Omarion Hampton took on a much larger role. Maye was still eighth in passing yards per game, with 300.7, and tied for first in yards per attempt, with 8.5.


Maye has the ideal size you would want if you created an NFL quarterback in a lab. He’s tall but has strength and is quick for his size. He has the speed to challenge defenses and is athletic enough to design scrambles. 

Arm Strength

Maye throws with velocity to all levels of the field and outside of the numbers, too. 

Here, we see Maye drop back and effortlessly flick the ball forty yards downfield and right where the receiver can make the play. 

It’s a quick play and could have been a touchdown if thrown just a tick behind. But this play shows the effortless motion and quick ability to push the ball downfield. It’s thrown leading the receiver, albeit a hair too much, but where he can make the play.

Making Plays Off-Structure

When a play breaks down, Maye can make plays when in traffic or on the move. He keeps his eyes downfield, and because he’s such a strong rusher, defenses must worry about that and his ability to throw. 

I love watching this play, and it shows how quickly Maye can make defenses pay. He’s just starting to take off and sees the receiver with a step. And Maye gets the ball downfield accurately on the run, where only the receiver can make the catch. 

This play shows his escapability and footwork when a play is clearly broken. Maye makes multiple players miss and gains a nice chunk of yards when all appears to be lost. 


On top of the ability to make all the throws, Maye is accurate, even on the run. Scouring through the tape was a bit maddening – there were countless beautiful throws that were dropped or even mishandled by the receiver and ended in an interception. That had to be taxing on Maye, but he kept doing what a gunslinger does – throw the ball downfield. 

This play shows how Maye can layer the ball in between levels of the defense, giving his receiver a nice, easy catch for a good gain. It’s laid perfectly in, over the second level of defenders and in front of the safety. 

It’s a fade, I get it, but the accuracy and ball placement is perfect. The receiver had an easy catch, and Maye had a touchdown pass. 

Areas of Concern

The Cowboy Mentality

When things break down, Maye can sometimes make things worse by trying to do too much. He will need to learn to throw the ball away or even take a sack rather than just chucking a pass in the random area code of a receiver. 

Inconsistent Footwork

There are multiple instances of Maye showcasing erratic footwork, although it improved in 2023. He isn’t consistent with setting his feet when making a throw, sometimes widening his stance, sometimes narrowing it, and it affects his velocity. 

His mechanics are then a bit off, contributing to some of the delays in processing and getting the ball to his receiver at the right time. Maye has a good enough arm to get the ball out of harm’s way in college, but the NFL is a different beast.

It’s not alarming overall, but it could hinder Maye from being a top-five quarterback instead of a QB8-10. It can also be cleaned up and easily fixable. 

Draft Profile

There seems to be more buzz that Jayden Daniels and JJ McCarthy could even be drafted before Maye. That’s an outright travesty and a byproduct of prospect fatigue. Maye has been so good for two years, and this year was a bit tougher to watch. But I didn’t fault him for what I saw that went wrong.

Maye will be one of the top quarterbacks chosen and should be a top-five pick. Regarding your rookie drafts, he’s still one of the safest options at quarterback and will be a top-five pick in SuperFlex rookie drafts.

Don’t get cute and let fatigue get to you. Maye is one of the safest prospects in the class, and he will be a top-ten quarterback for many years. Obviously, some teams will be better than others, but any team that takes Maye in the top ten will likely want him to succeed and surround him with weapons. He’s got a safe floor and a lovely ceiling, and I would confidently draft Maye in rookie drafts. 

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