June 13, 2024

Many experts analyzing the 2024 NFL Draft anticipate Drake Maye to emerge as a highly productive quarterback at the professional level, with several mock drafts consistently ranking him as the second or third best quarterback in his class. Standing at 6-foot-4 and weighing 230 pounds, Maye possesses the physical attributes that scouts covet, including a strong throwing arm and solid athleticism, enabling him to make throws on the move.

While his statistics in 2023 did not match those of the previous year, it’s worth noting the challenges faced by the University of North Carolina, including a new offensive coordinator and the absence of their top wide receiver Devontez Walker for the first four games of the season.

Taking Drake Maye in NFL Draft 'will get you fired': Merril Hoge

However, not everyone shares the optimistic outlook on Maye. Former NFL player Merril Hoge, known for his tenure on ESPN’s NFL Matchup show from 1998 to 2016, expressed strong skepticism about Maye’s potential during a recent radio interview with WCCO’s Henry Lake.

Hoge delivered a blistering assessment of Maye, suggesting that drafting him, especially within the top five or top three picks, could be detrimental to a team’s success.

“(Malik) Willis might be the only guy that I can think of that is as erratic as Maye. I’ve studied him for two years. His best game, and I watched every one of his games last year, was probably the Pittsburgh game, and that was an average football game. His last game against North Carolina State was the most embarrassing display I’ve seen from a guy who is supposed to be an elite franchise quarterback. When you talk about accuracy, it is erratic everywhere.”

That’s certainly not the assessment New England Patriots fans were hoping to hear, especially if their team opts to select Maye with the No. 3 overall pick in the first round.

Patriots insider Tom E. Curran offered his response to Hoge’s critique of Maye in his latest column published on Monday:

“Hoge, who’s also criticized Caleb Williams in this year’s draft process, raises a valid point. The NC State game at the end of the season was disastrous. Moreover, North Carolina’s season shifted from a promising 6-0 start to a final record of 7-4 with Maye leading the offense.

“Maye’s regression in 2023 has been attributed to changes in offensive coordination, questionable protection, and the absence of a polished wide receiver. We’ve been repeatedly urged to overlook Maye’s 2023 performance and instead focus on his strong showing in ’22. However, that’s akin to asking people to disregard Mac Jones’ 2023 season and only consider 2021. The reality is, both seasons matter.

“Another undeniable truth is the perplexing inability of GMs, scouts, coaches, and analysts to predict player success any better than the average person. Hoge’s assessment, like any analyst’s, has its hits and misses. He was steadfast in his belief before the 2014 draft that Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was not a first-round talent. He even gave Manziel a ‘fifth- or sixth-round grade’ during a 2014 appearance on ESPN’s First Take. Despite Hoge’s warnings, the Cleveland Browns selected Manziel at No. 22 overall, which ultimately proved disastrous.

“However, Hoge has also been off the mark a few times, such as during the 2008 NFL Draft when he expressed preference for Brian Brohm over Aaron Rodgers after the Green Bay Packers drafted Brohm from Louisville. He infamously stated, ‘I do like Brohm better than Aaron Rodgers.’ Brohm’s career with the Packers never took off, while Rodgers has cemented himself as one of the top 10 quarterbacks in NFL history.

“Evaluating quarterbacks remains an imprecise endeavor, but Hoge’s divergent assessment of Maye’s weaknesses offers an intriguing perspective amidst the plethora of other analyses. Only time will reveal whether his criticisms are justified.”

NFL Draft prospect Drake Maye 'is the kind of player that will get you  fired,' ex-Steelers player warns | Fox News

 

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