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Finding This Year's Version Of C.J. Stroud

The fact that Drake Maye isn't the far-and-away first-overall pick is absurd to me. 

Mark my words: in 5-10 years, we will look back at this draft, and everyone who had Caleb Williams over Drake Maye will look like a fool (these "draft analysts" embarrass themselves year after year).

Arguments Against Maye

First, draft analysts have to bend backward to say anything remotely negative about the guy. "He's inconsistent," they say; "Carolina didn't face top talent,"; and "he never won anything of true significance."

The last two arguments are so stupid it's borderline shocking; do we not remember that Josh Allen went to Wyoming? Plenty of phenomenal NFL players didn't face "top talent." 

I also get so frustrated by that point because it's true that the competition Maye faced isn't as harsh as that faced by Jaden Daniels, who played in the SEC. But the lack of talent offsets the lack of talent on the other team… on his own team. It's not like UNC dominated the ACC (two years in a row of almost cracking the top ten, with about half the season to go… just for us to blow it in the last few weeks and achieve nothing of true significance. Two years of Sam Howell followed by two years of Drake Maye… and we have what to show for it?)

To tie Maye's talent level to the number of wins UNC had is fallacious; to denounce him because the talent he faced wasn't that strong is even more so.

Fitting the Mold

The fact of the matter is that he fits the mold of a stud NFL QB perfectly. The top guys these days have a very similar make-up, whether it's Mahomes, Burrow, Allen, Hurts, Lawrence, Stroud, or Herbert; they all look the same. 

6 '2 to 6'5ish, athletic enough to run for a first down occasionally and escape the pressure occasionally, accurate, strong enough arm, and intelligent/mature enough to lead a franchise.

What box does he not check? He's probably most comparable to Herbert and Allen, given his unique combination of big/athletic. 

Now, the version of Maye that existed in college is heads and shoulders above the version of Josh Allen that existed at Wyoming and is undoubtedly better than the Herbert tt Oregon. 

Now, the fact is that NFL teams get this stuff wrong all the time, so my saying that they'll be wrong, again, isn't that noteworthy. It's genuinely shocking how awful NFL teams are at scouting collegiate talent. There's a reason so many of us fans are obsessed with the draft; we have almost as much info as the guys who will make the decision (other than seeing how they conduct themselves in interviews, etc.) 

It's important to contextualize this discussion since referencing him as the "best" means he's compared to other players.

Caleb Williams, Jaden Daniels, & More

Jaden Daniels may not be big enough to compete in the NFL, and he's not nearly the thrower of the football that Maye is. I'm not sure Daniels is a natural quarterback; Maye is a gun-slinger and was clearly born to play the position.

Caleb Williams- the media's darling- is the theoretical top quarterback (ugh). 

He's shorter and smaller than Maye. I'm genuinely not sure that he's any more athletic, and the big thing that people go crazy about with Caleb is his creative, gun-slinger, throw-on-the-run reputation. Uhh, Drake Maye is better at all that stuff than he is?

I don't want to throw any conspiracy theories around, but we will look back at this draft class in a few years and laugh at how ridiculous the commentary surrounding it was. 

Maye will be the best; there's no doubt in my mind, but I'd take Daniels and Penix Jr. before Caleb Williams as well. JJ McCarthy and Bo Penix? I wouldn't be shocked if those two end up being pretty good, too, notably McCarthy. 

This year's draft is fascinating, and I think it's one of the more convoluted and complex ones we've seen in years. 

A lot of fallacious thinking flying around. You shouldn't be shocked if he ends up being the first player taken, and you really shouldn't be shocked to see him win Rookie of the Year next year. 

Drake Maye is this year's version of C.J. Stroud, mark my words.



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