New England Patriots

2024 NFL Draft: Former player gives very harsh critique of Drake Maye

"Drake Maye is the kind of player that will get you fired."

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A lot of experts ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft think Drake Maye will be, or has a good chance to be, a very productive quarterback at the pro level.

The former University of North Carolina star is consistently rated as the No. 2 or No. 3 quarterback in the 2024 class, and it's hard to find a mock draft where he doesn't land inside the top three picks.

Maye has the physical tools scouts love. He's 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds with a rocket arm. He has pretty good athleticism and can throw on the run. His stats in 2023 weren't as impressive as they were in 2022, but last season was difficult for the Tar Heels when you consider they had a new offensive coordinator and No. 1 wide receiver Devontez Walker missed the first four games.

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Not everyone is high on Maye, though. In fact, former NFL player Merril Hoge, who the current generation of fans probably know best from his days on ESPN's NFL Matchup show from 1998 to 2016, is not a fan of Maye at all.

Hoge gave a scathing critique of Maye during a recent radio interview with WCCO's Henry Lake.

"Drake Maye is the kind of player that will get you fired," Hodge said. "Especially if you draft him in the top five or top three, he's going to get you fired."

"(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."

(The Maye topic begins at the 10:45 mark in the player below)

That's not the type of Maye analysis New England Patriots fans want to hear, especially if their team selects Maye with the No. 3 overall pick in the first round.

Our Patriots insider Tom E. Curran reacted to Hoge's Maye criticism in his column posted Monday:

"Hoge, who’s also blistered Caleb Williams in this year’s draft process, makes a good point. The NC State game at the end of the season was horrific. And North Carolina did go from a 6-0 start to a final record of 7-4 with Maye at the controls.

"Maye’s 2023 backslide has been attributed to an offensive coordinator change, suspect protection and lack of a polished wideout. Repeatedly, we’ve been told to toss out Maye’s 2023 season and look at how good he was in ’22. Which is a little like asking folks to toss out Mac Jones’ 2023 season and look at 2021. The fact is, both count.

"The other fact is, the staggering inability of GMs, scouts, coaches and analysts to project players any better than the Average Joe will never not be amusing to me."

Hoge's track record, like any other analyst, is mixed. He was adamant ahead of the 2014 draft that Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was not a player worthy of going in the first round. Hoge gave Manziel "a fifth- or sixth-round grade" during an appearance on ESPN's First Take in 2014. The Cleveland Browns drafted Manziel at No. 22 overall and it was a disaster.

He's also been wrong a few times, like during the 2008 NFL Draft after the Green Bay Packers drafted Brian Brohm out of Louisville with Aaron Rodgers already on the roster.

“I do like Brohm better than Aaron Rodgers,” Hoge said. Brohm never played for the Packers and appeared in just three regular season games over two seasons. Rodgers has become one of the top 10 quarterbacks of all time.

Evaluating quarterbacks is such an inexact science, but it's interesting to hear Hoge's breakdown of Maye's weaknesses because it's so different from most of the other analysis out there. Will he be proven right? Only time will tell.

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