NFL Combine: The ‘one big concern’ that could drop Drake Maye in the 2024 NFL Draft

Not everyone is onboard the Drake Maye hype train.

North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye
North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye / Eakin Howard/GettyImages
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One of the top quarterback prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft is not throwing at the NFL Scouting Combine but is this a good or bad thing for Drake Maye, who is projected to be a top 3 pick in the draft.

With quarterback needy teams selecting at the top of the draft, most mock drafts have Maye going to either the Washington Commanders or New England Patriots.  But could whichever team who selects the North Carolina prospect be in for a major disappointment or should I say bust when he gets to the NFL level?

It’s obvious Maye has the physical talent to turn out to be an elite quarterback, but ESPN NFL analyst and former NFL running back Merrill Hoge is just giving teams something to think about.  In the words of Stephen A. Smith, he’s dishing out some “cause to pause” when selecting that high as he sees Maye as the lesser talent when in discussion with USC’s Caleb Williams and LSU’s Jayden Daniels.

2024 NFL Draft: Drake May has something to prove at the NFL Scouting Combine

While the numbers speak for themselves during Maye’s UNC career, the eye test for Hoge goes beyond his prototypical quarterback size and frame.  Appearing on “The Herd” on Tuesday, Hoge got real when it comes to the 6-foot-4, 229-pound quarterback.

“His processing — I watch him function under pressure. I don’t think I’ve seen execute a pressure correctly — identify it. Oftentimes, he misses it,” Hoge said as transcribed by the New York Post.

“Sometimes, when you see his head in that position, and he doesn’t acknowledge it and make the throw. Those are concerning. When I talk about processing, there’s not a lot that I’m like confident about that he processes things well, especially pressures.”

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Hoge went on to describe Maye’s accuracy as “erratic” at times, which is a big concern for him.  Yes, Maye has raw talent and the ability to get better, but accuracy is something Hoge doesn’t see as something that can be corrected.  In fact, he says in the NFL he could get more erratic which New York Jets and Patriots fans have seen with Zach Wilson and Mac Jones.

That’s a scary comparison especially for the Patriots who must decide what they are going to do with that No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.  If Daniels has leapt over Maye on most team’s big boards, New England may have a bigger dilemma on their hands if they see what Hoge sees. 

Now all top prospects will have weaknesses and concerns, but Maye could’ve upped his stock by throwing at the NFL Combine and letting teams get a closer look, maybe even prove Hoge wrong.  At the same time, he could also prove Hoge right, which could lower his stock.

NFL Combine notes: Drake Maye wants to create relationships at the combine

Maye won’t be throwing, but there’s another way he can increase his stock at the NFL Combine and that’s by talking with people, meeting with teams and just being honest.  Again, his numbers at the University of North Carolina speaks for themselves, but when it comes to building relationships, Maye exuded “excitement” when appearing on “The Adam Schefter Podcast” leading up to the combine.

2024 NFL Draft prospect Drake Maye
Drake Maye / Lance King/GettyImages

In the interview with Adam Schefter, Maye talked about his dream of playing in the NFL and having that chance to be himself in interviews.

“I think the biggest thing for me is like I said, be myself and be honest, and in the interview process,” Maye said.  “If they don’t like me, that’s just part of it.  Should draft someone else.”

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As far as not throwing as the NFL Scouting Combine, Maye, like the other top prospects like Daniels, Caleb Williams and top wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr, is saving that for his Pro Day, which is sure to be a buzzing event.

“I think kind of the film speaks for itself in this process for any player going into the draft,” Maye told Schefter.  “So just letting them get to know me and be authentic through it.  But other than that, like I said, a big part of it is being in uncomfortable situations and being able to handle that.”

In all, the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis will give evaluators an assessment of who Drake Maye is as a person.  What fuels him, what humors him and if he can handle uncomfortable situations off the field.  In the NFL that could make-or-break a talent on the field. 

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