The Chicago Bears may be in the market to draft another quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft. That will, of course, depend on how current quarterback Justin Fields plays for the rest of the season. To date, his play has been disappointing.
The ’24 Draft Class is a good one for quarterbacks being led by USC’s Caleb Williams. The next quarterback after Willimas that most analysts have listed is North Carolina’s Drake Maye. In many Drafts’ Maye could easily be the top pick in the Draft.
Drake is a third-year player at North Carolina. He has great size at an estimated 6’4 – 230. He red-shirted in 2021 but still played in the allowable four games. In 2022, Drake started all 14 games for North Carolina and put up some excellent numbers. He attempted 517 passes and completed 342 for a 66.2 completion percentage. His passing yardage was 4321 yards, and he threw 38 TDs to only seven interceptions. For a first-year starter, you can’t do any better than that.
This year, he has led Carolina to a 4-0 start and has upped his completion percentage to 72.7%. His passing yardage is 1187 yards, as well as having thrown five TDs and four interceptions. I have seen all four throws that were intercepted, and only two were on Maye.
Maye has a classic overhand delivery with no hitch. He can see the field very well, is calm and patient and easily goes through a progression. Once he makes a decision, his delivery is very quick. Not only does he throw with accuracy, but his ball placement is excellent. He consistently puts the ball in a place where his receiver can make yardage after the catch. He is also deadly with his back-shoulder throws. He makes a number of tight window throws in every game.
Maye isn’t the athlete that Caleb Williams or Justin Fields is, but he is a darn good athlete in his own right. He’ll probably run around 4.70 and maybe a little faster. North Carolina doesn’t have many designed QB runs in their offense, but when Maye has to run, he is very effective. Last year, he ran for 689 yards, and this year, he has already run for 119. What’s important to remember is that in college football, the yardage lost when being sacked gets subtracted from the quarterback’s rushing yardage. That isn’t the case in the NFL.
What Maye has is a very good feel for pass rushers; he can move around in the pocket and find a seam to get the ball off. Like I said above, he is very patient and poised and seldom forces a throw.
Maye’s arm strength is awesome. He can easily throw the ball 60 yards, and when he has to, he can throw with a lot of velocity. He consistently throws a tight ball, so playing in the wind should not be a factor.
Overall, if we wanted to put a comp on Maye, I’d say he is similar to the Chargers Justin Herbert or the Jags Trevor Lawrence. He doesn’t have quite the size of Herbert, but he’s a similar athlete with similar arm talent. Lawrence and Maye are about the same height, but Maye has a thicker, more muscular frame. Their arm strength is similar, and Maye throws with the accuracy that Lawrence had while at Clemson. If Maye turns out as good as either, he’ll be a darn good NFL quarterback capable of taking his team to the Playoffs.