Commanders Mock Draft: Replacing one UNC QB with a different UNC QB

Sam Howell and Drake Maye shared a locker room at North Carolina. Now, in our latest Commanders mock draft, Maye replaces Howell yet again as the QB1.

Nov 25, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10)
Nov 25, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) / Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders Add Protection For Maye

Round 2, No. 36 — Patrick Paul, OT, Houston

As I said earlier in the mock draft, the selection of Drake Maye won’t matter if the Commanders fail to upgrade the offensive line. Patrick Paul, a long-time starter in college, is the ideal start to a full retooling of the unit.

Paul can play tackle or guard at a high level, but I have him graded higher on the outside. The Houston alum is 6-foot-7 and weighs 315 pounds, utilizing his impressive wingspan to thwart pass rushers off the edge. He has plenty of power in his lanky frame, too, serving as a solid piece in the running game.

Paul must add some more weight to his frame and learn to consistently keep his pad levels low. Too often, when he loses a rep, it’s due to poor leverage against his assignment. With NFL coaching, I expect Paul to iron out these issues and become an instant starter in Year 1. He will be tasked with protecting Maye’s blindside.

Round 2, No. 40 (via CHI) — Cooper Beebe, Guard, Kansas State

But wait, there’s more! While the pass-rushing unit needs a facelift after the departure of Montez Sweat and Chase Young, the value was too good to not select Cooper Beebe out of Kansas State. Beebe is the top-rated guard on my Big Board, profiling as a future All-Pro at the position.

He displays a unique blend of power and finesse. Pancakes litter his tape in the running game, while his deceptive agility, including teach tape footwork, allows him to get out in space and create lanes in the second level.

As a pass protector, Beebe is at his best. In 1,445 pass-blocking reps since 2021, the Wildcat star has only allowed one sack. If that sounds absurd, that’s because it is. With the Commanders, Beebe and Paul can revitalize the unit and give Maye ample time to target an impressive arsenal of weapons.