When redshirt sophomore Drake Maye announced that he would opt out of UNC’s bowl game and then that he is entering the NFL draft, speculation began regarding which NFL team the Myers Park gunslinger would be suiting up for next season. Let’s take a look at what the experts are predicting.
Mel Kiper and his hair have Drake in the #3 spot on their Big Board behind Caleb Williams and Marvin Harrison Jr. at #1 and #2 respectively.
As for the mock drafts, the overwhelming majority of pundits have the Chicago Bears taking Caleb Williams #1 overall and Drake Maye being selected second by the Washington Commanders, where he would join former Tar Heel teammate Sam Howell in the QB room. This opinion is shared by ESPN’s Jordan Reid, NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah, CBS Sports’ Josh Edwards, and Sports Illustrated’s Patrick Chiotti. However there are a few outliers.
Curt Popejoy from USA Today’s Draft Wire has the Bears moving forward with Justin Fields at QB and drafting WR Marvin Harrison, Jr. out of Ohio State with the top pick. He has Drake Maye still going #2 overall to the Commanders and Caleb Williams dropping to the New England Patriots with the third pick.
Notably, Popejoy also has UNC WR Tez Walker going in the first round to the Buffalo Bills with the 29th selection. Likewise, Daniel Jeremiah also mocks Tez in the round one, also at the 29th pick, though to the Kansas City Chiefs (those picks aren’t set in stone until after the playoff results). If either of those plays out, the prospect of Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes pitching it to Tez sounds like some pretty formidable firepower for an offensive arsenal.
Then you have USA Today’s For the Win site, whose Christian D’Andrea predicts Drake Maye heading to Chicago as the #1 selection and Caleb Williams going second to Washington.
All signs point to Drake being a top three draft choice, which would mean Chicago, Washington, or New England, barring another team trading up. Should he end up with the Commanders, he would be going into a situation with a new owner (which is a positive compared to the previous state of the organization) and a new coach once that hire is made this offseason.
As mentioned, Drake would also be competing with Sam Howell for the starting QB spot. After serving as a backup in his rookie season, Howell was handed the reins to lead the Washington offense this year. He showed some flashes early on but his season started to unravel in the latter portion of the schedule. Now, with such a high pick being spent on another quarterback and such high expectations for Maye, Howell will likely be relegated to a role as mentor for his fellow Carolina signal caller.
The Commanders do have a pair of good young wideouts in Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson that could soon find themselves as recipients of deep throws from the young UNC arm cannon.
Regardless of where he ends up, there will be high hopes for Drake Maye taking over an offense. What is your preferred landing spot for Drake in the NFL? Let us know in the comments!