NFL Analyst Gives Shocking Drake Maye Evaluation – “More Athletic Mason Rudolph With Less Arm Talent”

Drake Maye was compared to a 2023 season NFL playoff quarterback. Except this QB comparison was Steelers backup Mason Rudolph.

The closest current NFL quarterback comparison to projected top-five NFL Draft pick Drake Maye is … Mason Rudolph?

That’s according to one analyst who took his own deep dive into the North Carolina passer ahead of April.

NFL Analyst Compares Projected First-Round QB Drake Maye to Mason Rudolph

Kurt Benkert was the man who drew the parallels between the Pittsburgh Steelers backup quarterback and the Tar Heels star who has many believing he’ll go no lower than No. 3 in the draft.

That’s the same Benkert who knows a thing or two about playing in the NFL as a five-year veteran. But here were the words Benkert typed on X (formerly known as Twitter) in his evaluation of Maye:

“Just finished my Drake Maye review. He’s a more athletic Mason Rudolph with less arm Talent (and a lot less accuracy).”

To start, Maye stands at 6’4″, 229 pounds. Rudolph is taller at 6’5″, 236 pounds. While Maye appears to be more mobile in his UNC film, Benkert doesn’t believe Maye comes with the “athletic upside” that the Tar Heel has been labeled with.

“He has a lot of backyard football in his game but doesn’t have the athletic upside that I think it requires to live in that world as often as he does,” Benkert said.

In diving into Maye’s feet, Benkert believes the future rookie is raw.

“He’s super raw with his footwork and pocket presence,” Benkert said.

Finally, Benkert stated where Maye needs to improve at the most.

“His ball placement needs serious improvement. Defensive recognition struggles a bit (but I don’t know what he’s being coached to do so it can’t be all on him),” Benkert said.

Yet, not all of Benkert’s words pointed to a completely negative scouting report of Maye. Benkert praised Maye’s grit. He also likes where Maye thrives best when it comes to the always crucial third-down scenarios.

“However, dude will stand in there and take a hit while delivering across the middle. He’s a third down threat as a runner which is a checked box in the NFL,” Benkert posted.

“All in all, I see the potential upside, but he’s got a ways to go to reach it. He also needs to be in a good situation with a good coach and probably a quarterback in front of him to mentor him to get him caught up to speed.”

Kurt Benkert Envisions Maye in This Scenario

While many draft experts believe Maye is battle-tested enough to handle the NFL rigors right away as a rookie starter, Benkert feels that NFL teams need to have a different approach to Maye.

He cited one particular situation that ended up working for one of Benkert’s former teams, the Green Bay Packers.

“Ideally – he ends up in a Jordan Love situation,” Benkert said. “Sits for a few years, cleans his game up learns behind-the-scenes then gets his chance.”

On Benkert’s end, he’s hoping Maye doesn’t end up in a situation where his development gets ruined by a rough environment.

“If he goes to a bad team early in round 1 and is forced to play…that may be all she wrote,” Benkert said.

Benkert even included a side-by-side comparison between Maye and Rudolph to back up his claim.

Fans React to Benkert’s Maye/Rudolph Comparison

Benkert’s rather stunning comparison came on the same day longtime NFL analyst and former player Merril Hoge ripped Maye, even calling him “extremely inconsistent.”

But Benkert’s draft evaluation of the UNC standout sparked notable online reactions.

“Maye’s release has more movement, but is almost exactly the same speed. Maye’s ball goes at least 15% faster in both clips, too. Each of the Maye throws are deeper than their corresponding Rudolph throws. This is remarkable gaslighting,” one fan told Benkert.

One other fan disagreed with Benkert’s assessment by saying Maye can make “out-of-structure” plays compared to Rudolph.

“You’re missing one VERY big key difference in 2024. Mason can only play from in-structure, Maye can do and make some ridiculous throws out-of-structure. Out of structure ability is what separates solid pocket passers from elite do-it-all QBs in modern age football,” the fan reacted.

Meanwhile, a former Tar Heel star in Austin Proehl posted this emoji-themed reaction to Benkert’s Maye scouting report:

Although, Benkert did have one fan who agreed with one area of the NFL QB’s critique of Maye.

“He struggles throwing to the right side i believe,” the fan told Benkert. “If he goes to the right team with a good QB coach it can be helped. A lot to see in a few days at the combine.”

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One last fan agreed with Benkert about Maye’s footwork, saying, “that needs major improvement, which makes the throws he makes in spite of it that much crazier.” But the same fan disagreed with Maye lacking arm strength.

Miss football? The 2024 NFL Draft is almost here, boss. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

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