Merril Hoge on Drake Maye: 'I Wouldn't Take Him in the First Round'

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Barring something unforeseen, the Chicago Bears will take Caleb Williams with the first pick in the upcoming NFL Draft or they will make a trade with a team willing to crawl over broken glass for a shot at snatching up a generational talent. The conventional wisdom for months has been that North Carolina's Drake Maye will be the second quarterback on the board and that there's a very realistic chance he goes No. 2. And a realistic chance LSU's Jayden Daniels then comes off the board at No. 3.

In short, the top of this upcoming draft is all about the quarterbacks and with only precious few weeks until the NFL descends on Detroit to read names on a stage, it's crunch time for some zigging while others are zagging.

Merril Hoge emerged from behind the curtain and showed up on The Herd yesterday to weigh in on it all. His commentary on Maye was about as negative as we've seen anywhere else.

“His processing — I watch him function under pressure. I don’t think I’ve seen execute a pressure correctly — identify it," Hoge said. "Oftentimes, he misses it. Sometimes, when you see his head in that position, and he doesn’t acknowledge it and make the throw. Those are concerning. When I talk about processing, there’s not a lot that I’m like really confident about that he processes things well, especially pressures.”

That's not all. Hoge is also concerned by Maye's lack of precision.

“It’s a big concern. Can you button those things up? Can you get a little better? Here’s what my ultimate belief is from playing in this league, coaching, studying this league for 40 years — you just don’t correct that. It actually is magnified when you get to the National Football League.

We live by one rule over here and it's not to second-guess someone who watches more tape than us. If forced to answer if Maye will be a good NFL quarterback or not, we'd really just be guessing. Which is what a lot of franchises ended up doing anyway, then they're geniuses if it works out and morons if it doesn't. Selecting a high-end QB over the past two decades is about as dicey a proposition as banking on a 55 percent foul shooter to make the front end of a one-and-one so it's really hard to be confident.

Hoge was famously spot-on in his doubt of Johnny Manziel but it's easy to also find examples of mighty whiffs. Merrill

It's tough to say what a casual observer should do with any of this information. When you hear someone who knows the game be this adamant about an unconventional opinion, it really is convincing. But how could 99 percent of the other evaluators be wrong?

Maybe the best way to keep sane is to realize there's a lot of stuff being said and no one knows for sure. You're obviously not supposed to say that but rules are meant to be broken.