North Carolina QB Drake Maye is clearly lost in the shuffle of NFL Draft hype with Caleb Williams being compared to Patrick Mahomes and Jayden Daniels’ Heisman Trophy season.
Chicago Bears fans already have decided on either retaining Justin Fields or drafting Caleb Williams. Their minds were made up quite a long time ago, the problem is Drake Maye is better than both Williams and Fields and offers a better alternative to both.
Maye is a more prototypical pocket passer and offers enough rushing ability to threaten defenses with his legs. But what is completely lost is that Maye is better than both Williams and Daniel in a very important category attacking the middle of the field.
A two-year sample size shows once again that Maye is not only in Daniels and Williams’ tier, but also that he is better in many categories. From 2022-2023, Maye’s 102 attempts targeting the intermediate part of the middle of the field were more than Williams’ 83 and Daniels’ 71. Maye’s five big-time throws also bested Williams’ one and Daniel’s zero.
Furthermore, there’s a false narrative that Drake Maye is riskier with the football and more likely to have a higher turnover rate in the NFL as a result. That narrative is also not backed up by any sort of facts either:
The North Carolina signal-caller made three turnover-worthy plays compared to Williams’ three and Daniels’ four, but due to Drake Maye having more attempts over the middle, his turnover-worthy play percentage in this area was the lowest of the three.
So not only is Drake Maye better at attacking the middle of a defense, he’s also better at avoiding turnovers. So what else does Drake Maye bring to the table? Ah yes getting the ball out quickly one of the major flaws in Justin Fields’ game. Fields time to throw is horrible one of the worst in the NFL since he arrived and as a result, he has one of the highest sack rates in the history of the NFL. Maye on the other hand gets the ball out quicker than both Williams and Daniels.
He also had the highest passer rating, the most first downs and the lowest time to throw.
While Williams has a ton of highlight worthy plays, he doesn’t have the level of consistency that Drake Maye has. When Williams is looking to run and make plays off platform and with a different arm angle, Maye is standing tall in the pocket shuffling his feet and creating throwing lanes for himself.
We have seen from Patrick Mahomes the no-look pass, the side armed throws and the throws he makes when falling down. Those are fantastic plays, but those aren’t the plays a QB needs to make consistently to win games. Those plays are the plays that Mahomes makes more often than the highlight reel throws and that consistency is why he’s already in the conversation to be the greatest of all time.
Much like last year when Bryce Young was the consensus player to be picked first overall, with CJ Stroud second, Maye is not getting the hype because he doesn’t have the same level of flashy run plays or plays on the run being made wit his legs. Daniels and Williams do excel outside the pocket. But to truly win in today’s NFL you have to win inside the pocket. Maye has a more natural feel for the pocket where as Williams and Daniels look to leave the pocket.
So what does this all mean? It means that the Bears are going to have to ignore the hype train that has surrounded Caleb Williams since he left high school.
“Power 5 starter with NFL first round draft potenial (sic), with talent to go in top 10.”
Williams was already being talked about as a Top-10 NFL pick in high school. When Spencer Rattler faltered at Oklahoma after his tremendous freshman year, Williams played at a high level as a freshman. He then follows Lincon Riley to USC and walks into the ideal situation to continue to succeed. Williams’ game has never been tested and there hasn’t been much growth in his game. He’s been the same QB earning the same hype the entire time. He’s a risky proposition as a generational talent because there hasn’t been growth to his game.
Maye on the other hand has grown within his system and been consistent from the pocket. Maye has the better height, the better arm talent and is more ideally suited for the NFL game.
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