North Carolina football star QB Drake Maye shines at Pro Day

Campbell v North Carolina
Campbell v North Carolina / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

North Carolina football's star quarterback Drake Maye had an impressive outing at his Tar Heel Pro Day ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft in April.

The Pro Day is when NFL prospects can display their abilities in front of NFL scouts, teams, and personnel. Maye is a projected top-five draft pick after having a prolific collegiate career for the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Maye broke out onto the scene in 2022 by having tossed for 4,321 yards, 38 touchdowns and completed each pass attempt for 8.4 yards. The UNC quarterback earned ACC Player of the Year and first-team All-ACC honors in 2022. In 2023, Maye's numbers dipped as he tallied for 3,603 passing yards and 24 touchdowns while having completed 63.3 percent of his passes (career-low).

Perhaps the reason for Maye's slight decline in production was the loss of former Tar Heels offensive coordinator Phil Longo, who took his talents to Wisconsin under the same position after the 2022 season. Longo led the Tar Heels offense to 34.4 points per game, tenth in passing yards per game (310.5) and 6.3 yards per play in 2022.

Furthermore, standout North Carolina pass catcher Devontez Walker played in only five games in 2023 due to transfer/eligibility issues. Additionally, former Tar Heels pass catcher and leading receiver Josh Downs, who currently plays for the Indianapolis Colts, was also somewhat of the reason why Maye's numbers didn't match 2022 since he went to the NFL in 2023.

The Tar Heels' defense was below average in 2023 which put a lot of pressure on Maye and the offense to will the team to victories. North Carolina football lost head-scratching matchups to then-2-5 Virginia and then then-4-4 Georgia Tech in which its defense allowed 31 and 46 points in both matchups, respectively.

Despite North Carolina's underwhelming 2023 campaign (lost final three games including bowl game), Maye is still one of the top prospects in the NFL draft.

The UNC quarterback stands at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds and is known to be a gunslinger that attempts ill-advised passes at times. Additionally, Maye throws the ball with solid velocity, has a quick ball release, and has shown flashes of being able to produce in crunch time (2023 vs. Appalachian State). NFL. com's draft profile gave the UNC gunslinger a grade of 6.5, which means he has a ceiling of being a solid franchise quarterback and a floor of not meeting the expectation of his high draft stock.

In this clip at North Carolina's Pro Day, Maye exhibits a quick and effortless release while throwing the ball off of his back foot. The receiver didn't need to break stride, which credits Maye's accuracy as a passer.

A bevy of teams sent personnel to spectate Maye at the Tar Heels' Pro Day that includes the Chicago Bears, Washington Commanders, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers, Las Vegas Raiders, and the Minnesota Vikings according to Jim Nagy.

Maye possesses all the tools and attributes to be a franchise-changing quarterback. The teams that sent personnel to UNC's Pro Day are quarterback-needy teams besides perhaps the Steelers who recently acquired Russell Wilson and Justin Fields. Wherever Maye ends up, the upside of the UNC quarterback is sublime.

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