HomeFootball DirtDrake Maye, Quarterback, Announces He Will Enter the 2024 Draft

Drake Maye, Quarterback, Announces He Will Enter the 2024 Draft

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Pegged for months as a likely top-five pick in the 2024 draft, Drake Maye has determined he is done with college football. The North Carolina quarterback announced Monday he will declare for the draft.

Listed by most as the second-best quarterback in the 2024 class (behind USC’s Caleb Williams), Maye may well come off the board second overall. It is not out of the question, either, the two-year North Carolina starter leapfrogs the 2022 Heisman winner for the top overall slot. Sam Howell‘s Tar Heels successor will begin pre-draft preparations in earnest now.

The younger brother of former North Carolina basketball standout Luke Maye, Drake rocketed onto the first-round radar after throwing 38 touchdown passes (compared to just seven interceptions) in his first starter season. This year, the 6-foot-4 prospect threw 24 TD passes. Maye averaged 8.4 and 8.5 yards per attempt in his two seasons, respectively, and threw for 4,321 yards in 2022. With Maye showcasing his rushing talents in Chapel Hill as well (1,209 career rushing yards, 16 TDs), he will be a coveted prospect by teams who hold early draft slots and those eyeing a first-round trade-up maneuver.

Maye will skip North Carolina’s bowl game, the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, joining Williams in bypassing his team’s season finale. That has become an increasingly common tactic by top prospects not on teams who qualify for the College Football Playoff. While Williams has not yet entered his name in the draft, that is widely expected to happen.

Mel Kiper Jr.’s current ESPN big board lists Maye as 2024’s third-best prospect — behind Williams and Ohio State wideout Marvin Harrison Jr. With many past examples to judge, Maye surpassing Harrison should perhaps be anticipated. This is assuming his pre-draft process goes well, of course. Drafts have begun with two quarterbacks four times since 2015, though the 2018 and ’20 drafts could potentially be relevant re: Maye. The Giants passed on Sam Darnold to pick a dynamic skill-position player (Saquon Barkley) in 2018, while it took until picks 5 and 6 for Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert to follow Joe Burrow off the 2020 board. Should a team without a QB need land the No. 2 overall pick and view Harrison as a can’t-miss prospect, it is certainly possible the draft will not begin with a Williams-Maye procession.

Multiple wild cards exist regarding QB investments in 2024 as well. The Bears are determining if they want to keep going with Justin Fields beyond this year. With the Panthers holding a two-game lead on the Patriots and Cardinals for the No. 1 pick, the Bears (by virtue of the Bryce Young trade) are the clear favorites to hold the top draft slot once again. The Patriots are expected to pursue a quarterback in the draft, though the Cardinals are uncertain to do so. They are also evaluating Kyler Murray, but with Murray’s contract far more difficult to move on from than Fields’ rookie deal, Arizona sticking with the 2019 top pick — a player the team’s new regime praised throughout his rehab process — and adding a highly touted non-QB in Round 1 may be the play.

Teams without surefire QB needs’ plans will be determined by the respective ceilings of Williams and Maye. Wherever the latter lands in the top five, he will be expected to start either from the jump or at some point during his rookie season.

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