NFL analyst goes nuclear on Drake Maye in worst draft take yet

Drake Maye is not a perfect prospect, but get a load of what Merril Hoge had to say about him.

Drake Maye, North Carolina Tar Heels
Drake Maye, North Carolina Tar Heels / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

There are Drake Maye fans out there, and then there is Merril Hoge. The former running back of the Pittsburgh Steelers turned NFL analyst had some of the most damning things to say about the quarterback prospect coming out of North Carolina. While I would agree that Maye does have major bust potential, Hoge's evisceration of Maye while comparing him to Jayden Daniels was over the top.

Hoge went on The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan to discuss what the hometown Washington Commanders should do at No. 2 in the 2024 NFL Draft. While Hoge wasn't overly high on former USC star Caleb Williams, who he does not deem to be special, he obliterated Maye while complementing Daniels. Although I like Daniels probably more than the other quarterbacks, Maye got destroyed here.

While Maye should be a top-three to eight pick, Hoge would not even draft him in the first round...

"I wouldn’t draft Maye in the first round; there are a bunch of things that bother me – he’s extremely inconsistent, his accuracy and processing are inconsistent, he misses a lot of hots, he’s not extremely athletic, and I find him more stiff. He's got a longer throwing motion which allows more hits in our league than he gets in college, and I’m just bothered by it.”

Hoge implied that Maye was undercoached at North Carolina by Mack Brown and his coaching staff.

“There's a certain level of coaching that doesn't exist in college based on the time frame that they have, so coaching is gonna matter. Let’s just assume they're gonna get good coaching, so there can be a lot of things you can work through, but the thing that concerns me is a guy can talk smart on the board, but then he can't process it on the field. And if I find out a guy is like that, I wouldn't touch him ever."

The other big reason why Hoge is out on Maye is that he lacks the necessary athleticism to succeed.

"You can’t fix speed, instincts and toughness – accept that and move on. When you see an inconsistent thrower in college, and these pockets are clean and people are wide open...when you create a dirty pocket for them, it gets worse.”

Sure, Maye could prove to be a complete and total bust, but you have to at least see what he is.

Merril Hoge fires out the most fiery of Drake Maye draft takes of all time

Of the six quarterbacks who could go in the first round this spring, Maye definitely has the most bust potential, probably for many of the reasons Hoge outlined. Maye did not exactly elevate the talent around him at North Carolina. When the going got tough, he mostly got going. If you struggle against teams like the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, good luck holding your own vs. the Philadelphia Eagles.

However, you have to take Maye very high in the first round, strictly for upside reasons. If everything works out for him in his NFL career, Maye could be the next Aaron Rodgers. While I think he will be a lesser version of Andrew Luck, a player with immense arm talent that will be simply too nice to hold bad organizations accountable, you cannot pass on him if you are picking around No. 8 overall or so.

It is why I venture to guess that Maye will be coming off the board sometime between the Commanders picking at No. 2 and no later than someone like the Las Vegas Raiders picking around No. 13. Frankly, there is a chance he could slip all the way to QB4 in this draft cycle, as Daniels has pretty much surpassed him as QB2 and former Michigan star J.J. McCarthy could be a fast riser.

Maye will be a better pro than Mitchell Trubisky, but the North Carolina tag is not in his favor either.

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