NFL Draft Rumors: The Jayden Daniels-Drake Maye Debate Might Be Over

People around the NFL reportedly believe Jayden Daniels is the second-best QB in the 2024 NFL Draft, and that Drake Maye isn't particularly close.

Oh, how things can change in the NFL. A few months ago, Drake Maye was the consensus second-best quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft. Some even had him ranked ahead of USC QB Caleb Williams. However, recent NFL Draft rumors indicate Maye is now far behind LSU star Jayden Daniels.

How NFL Evaluators Reportedly Feel About Drake Maye-Jayden Daniels Debate

Last month, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer made headlines when he offered insight into what the Washington Commanders could do with the No. 2 overall pick.

“The more I’ve started to ask around, the more it seems like Jayden Daniels is probably the leader in the clubhouse to be a Commander,” Breer said on NBC Sports Boston. ” … I think right now, again, this can change over the next few weeks. I think Jayden Daniels is the leader in the clubhouse to be the second overall pick.”

The ball has rolled in that direction ever since. In fact, according to Greg Bedard of Boston Sports Journal, the gap between Daniels and Maye might be widening.

“I polled six personnel executives at the league meetings who I have enormous respect for, especially in relation to quarterbacks, to ask them who are the top three quarterbacks in this draft,” Bedard wrote in a story published Sunday. “They were unanimous that Caleb Williams was No. 1.

“And they were in lock-step that Jayden Daniels was No. 2, and it wasn’t really close. Special and rare talent were tossed around. And there was this from another executive: ‘He’s like Lamar (Jackson) with better throwing ability.’ That’s high praise from where it came from. No, I’m not saying where.”

Obviously, things can change between now and the start of the draft. But at this juncture, it would be a surprise if Daniels is still on the board when the New England Patriots are on the clock at No. 3.

Who Will Be the Third Quarterback Taken in the NFL Draft?

The real debate now might be Maye vs. J.J. McCarthy.

Some mock drafts now have McCarthy, who was excellent last season at Michigan, going ahead of Maye, who endured a disappointing campaign at UNC.

“One of the most interesting nuggets I’ve picked up over the past two weeks is that multiple NFL teams have McCarthy ranked ahead of North Carolina’s Drake Maye,” ESPN’s Matt Miller wrote in a story published last week.

“A high-ranking evaluator I spoke to this week said McCarthy’s winning resume, upside as a mobile QB, and impeccable poise under pressure all graded out higher for them than Maye. When under pressure last season, McCarthy’s completed an FBS-best 68% of his passes and averaged 10 yards per attempt (second-best).”

Bedard sang a similar tune in his column.

“Opinions were very mixed on Drake Maye,” Bedard wrote. “They all respect the talent but his inconsistency seems to be a huge worry. For some, J.J. McCarthy was next because he makes better decisions under duress. The final vote for No. 3 was two for Maye, two for McCarthy and two said they would trade down.”

Which Team Will Own the No. 3 Pick on Draft Day?

This is one of the draft’s great mysteries. The Patriots currently own the No. 3 pick and need a new franchise quarterback. New head coach Jerod Mayo knows the franchise needs a new QB, and so does owner Robert Kraft.

But will they keep the pick and draft a QB, or trade down to gather more assets?

Multiple reports indicate the Patriots plan to select a quarterback at No. 3. But the new regime, led by de facto general manager Eliot Wolf, could be presented with a trade proposal it can’t refuse.

The Minnesota Vikings (Nos. 11 and 23) and Las Vegas Raiders (No. 13) both are well-positioned to trade up for a quarterback. The Vikings reportedly approached New England about a possible trade early in the offseason.

But there’s also the Denver Broncos (No. 12), who are on record as wanting to trade up. And the Los Angeles Chargers (No. 5) are a sneaky-interesting trade candidate.

So, the Patriots will have options. So, too, will the Arizona Cardinals, who own the No. 4 pick, don’t need a quarterback, and are “open” for business — according to GM Monti Ossenfort.

A bidding war among QB-needy teams could ensue. But if recent reports about Daniels are true, those teams likely will be left choosing between Maye and McCarthy.

KEEP READING: Is Michael Penix Jr. Now a First-Round Lock?

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