Daniel Kelly spent 4 years in professional scouting with the New York Jets. He’s the printed creator of the guide “No matter It Takes,” the story of a fan making it into the NFL.
Drake Maye, Drake Maye, Drake Maye — we will probably be listening to about him advert infinitum heading into the 2024 NFL Draft on April 25 in Detroit. Maye is the North Carolina quarterback who as a redshirt freshman earned ACC Participant of the Yr and wowed scouts. Many have him pegged as a top-five choose within the draft.
After finding out each snap he took in 2022, I even dared utter Maye’s title and the GOAT — future Professional Soccer Corridor of Famer Tom Brady — in the identical breath. That is as a result of as of Nov. 16, 2022, Maye led the nation with six come-from-behind victories and confirmed off NFL-caliber abilities. Moreover Brady, former Falcons QB Matt Ryan — who had a wonderful 15-year profession within the NFL — is one other comp who got here to thoughts relating to Maye.
On movie in 2022, Maye confirmed maturity, business-like demeanor, poise, ball safety, smarts and top-notch competitiveness. His throwing mechanics have been technically stable as properly.
I not too long ago evaluated all of his games in 2023 — one of many hardest evaluations I’ve finished. Maye, who threw for 3,608 yards and 24 TDs final season, has excellent measurement (6-foot-4 and 230 kilos), soccer smarts, arm expertise and athleticism to run round and make these Patrick Mahomes-like off-platform throws from varied arm angles. He can also unfold the ball across the discipline and has probably the greatest deep balls on this draft class.
In school, Maye led an offense with a fast, energetic tempo, which is critically essential. Like drummers in a band, QBs set the rhythm — one thing receivers depend upon when working their timing-sensitive routes. Maye’s 2023 launch time was 2.79 seconds, per Pro Football Football Focus, which favorably compares to Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert at 2.8 seconds (18th in NFL), per Next Gen Stats.
So, what’s the issue?
Three regarding elements that both surfaced or have been confirmed in 2023:
1. Downward trajectory
Maye is trending within the fallacious path. In 2023, his interception complete elevated from seven in 2022 to 9 in 2023 and his completion proportion dropped from 66.2% to 63.3%. As strain and expectations elevated from 2022 to 2023, Maye — a perfectionist by nature like many QBs — gave off a powerful vibe of frustration on movie that wasn’t there in 2022. I observed he pressed on many throws and had problematic ball placement.
2. Cold and warm
Maye seemed noticeably “off'” in roughly half the video games in 2022 and 2023. For instance, final season, he noticeably pressed in video games towards Virginia, North Carolina State, Minnesota, South Carolina and Clemson. He made obvious judgment lapses and held the ball too lengthy when passing. In all, he threw eight interceptions in these video games.
In video games towards North Carolina State (57.9%), Virginia (50%) and Clemson (44.4%), Maye’s completion proportion plummeted beneath his commonplace.
3. Excessive damage threat
Maye tends to run the ball extra like an influence again than a franchise QB. He usually ran right into a defender reasonably than ducking out of bounds or sliding. Operating is not a pastime for Maye both, as he carried the ball 296 occasions the previous two seasons. He cannot run like this within the NFL or, like Indianapolis’ Anthony Richardson in 2023, he’ll miss important enjoying time.
Maye is an efficient worth on the proper choose — actually to not New England at No. 3, the place ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. positioned him in his most up-to-date mock draft. That is means too excessive.