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Purple & Gold Prospects: Drake Maye Final Scouting Report

Welcome to Purple & Gold Prospects!

This will be an ongoing series to get Vikings fans familiar with upcoming draft prospects. The focus of this series will be to cover prominent prospects entering the upcoming NFL Draft. The series will center on the position groups of highest need on the current Vikings roster, but will also cover stand out players across the spectrum. I hope you will join me on this continuing journey to learn more about upcoming draft classes.

With that let’s discover the possible future of your Minnesota Vikings!

Background

Drake Maye was a 5-star recruit out of Myers Park High School. Maye originally committed to Alabama in 2019. He would decommit from Alabama and head to UNC in 2020. In his 2 years as a starter at UNC he amassed 7,929 passing yards, 62 TDs, 16 INTs, and a completion rate of 64.9%. He also added 1,147 yards on the ground along with 16 rushing TDs. Projected as a possible 1st round pick out of high school he is now in the running for the number one overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Games watched: Clemson 2022, Georgia State 2022, Notre Dame 2022, Oregon 2022, Virginia 2022, Duke 2023, Clemson 2023, Minnesota 2023, Virginia 2023

Strengths

Maye is a strong runner. He displays good contact balance and toughness to grind extra yards. Maye is also underrated in his playmaking ability to extend plays, making throws downfield or picking up yardage with his legs. Avoids tucking and running a decent amount and instead keeps his eyes downfield looking for open receivers. Maye has moments of excellent play diagnosis on the run. He shows impressive change of direction ability and is elusive in the open field for his size. His ability to get to the ground and avoid contact has also improved with his time at UNC. Maye is a very good full-field reader, going through progressions, hitting the correct routes as plays develop or taking his quick outs when needed. Maye also has great arm strength with the ability to drive balls to any level down the field. He layers the ball very well over defenders to hit open receivers. Maye has some outstanding ball placement and timing on deep sideline throws. He is a good short-game operator, especially while executing screens and swivels his hips quickly to align himself with the pass. When kept clean his footwork and mechanics are excellent and hits his dropbacks relatively quickly. Keeps his feet moving and has a very solid base when delivering the ball. He is a nice accurate passer on the run and off-platform. Maye is an extremely accurate tight window passer and his placement on deep balls can be absolutely outstanding. He displays good poise in the pocket and will continually deliver passes with oncoming rushers. Maye also does a very good job changing arm angles and trajectories to deliver throws with great ball placement.

Weaknesses

While he has very good athleticism he isn’t the most elusive when escaping the pocket. Often falls to first contact instead of shrugging off defenders as he shows in the open field. Maye is decisive when he tucks and runs but can misdiagnose plays and lanes will close on him before he is able to hit them. He improved in 2023 but would still like him to continue to extend plays more often than committing to the run. He will also occasionally take unneeded risks while extending plays. Maye’s play tends to dip with pressure and has lapses in his mechanics. He can also drift in the pocket at times leading to negative plays. Maye can be a little flat-footed at times when he is not feeling pressure whether that pressure is actually coming or not. He occasionally has a little extra hitch in his step which can delay his release. Maye also has a couple of short-game miscues even with good mechanics, missing quick passes to the designated receiver. He could also do well to put a little more zip on his release occasionally. Maye also tries to play a little too much hero ball at times trying to do too much on plays instead of relaxing and getting into rhythm.

Conclusion

Maye got the Tarheels off to a blazing 6-0 start. However, they dropped 4 of their last 6 games to finish with a 10-6 record. He still had an excellent 2023 campaign while developing under a new offensive coordinator and system that emphasized the run at UNC. Maye had a slightly slow start but settled in nicely as him and his team got used to the new offense. This speaks to his ability to adapt at the next level. For Minnesota, Maye is my number one QB in the upcoming draft. He is definitely a QB that I feel warrants the draft capital required to move up and select. He has all of the tools and traits that QB needy teams will covet at the next level and has positioned himself as a top 3 selection, if not the first overall, in this draft class.

Grade

Accuracy: 14.1 / 15

Decision Making/Mental Ability: 13.8 / 15

Mechanics: 13.5 / 15

Touch/Trajectory: 14.1 / 15

Arm Strength: 9.2 / 10

Athleticism: 8.9 / 10

Durability: 9.8 / 10

Pocket Presence: 7.9 / 10

OVERALL: 91.3 – Mid First Round

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