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Former NFL player Merril Hoge not impressed by Drake Maye: 'He's marginal at best'


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Former Pittsburgh Steelers star Merril Hoge directed some sharply pointed criticism toward NFL Draft prospect Drake Maye.

While Maye is widely projected to hear his name called at some point during the first ten picks Thursday night, Hoge is not sold on the quarterback's ability to play at a high level once he reaches the NFL.  

"He’s marginal at best," Hoge said during a recent appearance on New England sports radio station WEEI.

Hoge pointed to Maye's inconsistent play during his time at North Carolina, suggesting it could be one of the reasons the quarterback will not excel in the NFL.

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"Inconsistency alone, the inconsistency in throwing the football and processing, that’s just some of the problems," Hoge added. "There’s a whole litany of things you have to correct."

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The New England Patriots hold the third overall pick in this year's draft, and Maye has been linked to the team. 

Earlier this month, Sports Illustrated reported that the Patriots hosted Maye for a pre-draft visit. The team also met with Maye at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and sent representatives to his pro day in Chapel Hill.

Hoge also asserted his belief that while certain aspects of a player's game can be improved at the NFL level, coaches will not be able to transform Maye into a more consistent and more accurate passer.

"You can dial it in a little bit," Hoge said. "But if you’re not an accurate passer, you’re an inconsistent passer — that is going to be magnified in the National Football League."

Hoge also strongly disagreed with the comparisons some have drawn between Maye and two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Josh Allen.

"He is not even close to Josh Allen," Hoge said. "I see nothing about Josh Allen. … There’s nothing, like nothing, but that’s what people are going to expect."

This is not the first time Hoge has criticized Maye. Earlier this month, he issued a stern warning to any front office contemplating using a top pick on the former Tar Heels signal-caller.

"Drake Maye is the kind of player that will get you fired," Hoge told WCCO radio. "Especially if you draft him in the top five or top three. He’s going to get you fired."

Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, Michael Penix Jr., J.J. McCarthy and Bo Nix round out the list of top quarterback prospects in this year's draft class. 

Williams is the overwhelming favorite to become the first player selected Thursday night. But Hoge is also not a believer in Williams. The Chicago Bears hold the top overall pick tonight.

"The one thing that is clear, he is not special," Hoge said on NBC Sports Chicago in February. "He is not something unique like a Patrick Mahomes. And I hope the Bears don't think, 'Well let's try to make up for our mistake when we passed up Patrick Mahomes and go get the Patrick Mahomes.' The kid is not Patrick Mahomes. Ain't even remotely close to that."

The first round of the 2024 NFL Draft begins Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. The second and third rounds take place Friday, and rounds four through seven happen Saturday.

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