North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye officially declared for the 2024 NFL Draft today, where he is expected to be taken with one of the top picks in the first round. He will leave the collegiate ranks after a successful two-year stint as the starter in Chapel Hill.
Maye arrived to North Carolina in 2021, where he spent his freshman season backing up current Washington Commanders starting quarterback Sam Howell. He immediately impressed taking over as the starter in 2022, completing 66.2% of his passes for 4,321 yards with 38 touchdowns and seven interceptions through the air, also adding an additional 698 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. Those numbers earned him ACC Player of the Year honors as he led the Tar Heels to an appearance in the conference championship game. His junior season in 2023 wasn’t as explosive, but was still productive, as he threw for 3,608 yards with 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions while also adding an additional nine scores on the ground.
Entering the 2024 NFL Draft, Maye has been projected as the No. 2 QB in this class behind USC’s Caleb Williams. Most draft experts have projected him to be taken with the No. 2 overall pick, but some have argued that he should go No. 1 overall. NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah compared him to Carson Palmer this past summer, citing size, arm strength, mobility, and accuracy as the traits linking the two QB’s. We’ll see if Maye can have an impressive enough showing throughout NFL Combine/Pro Day season to build his case for No. 1.