NFL combine: North Carolina QB Drake Maye says he’s not Mitchell Trubisky

‘We’re different players and different people,’ Maye said of Trubisky

North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye speaks during a press conference at the NFL combine in Indianapolis, Friday, March 1, 2024.

INDIANAPOLIS – Bears fans have, maybe rightfully so, been nervous about the prospect of their team drafting a North Carolina quarterback with a top pick in the 2024 draft.

Seven years ago, the Bears traded up from No. 3 to No. 2 in order to select Mitchell Trubisky out of North Carolina. They passed on Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who went 10th overall to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Bears will forever be haunted by that decision.

This time around, the Bears currently hold the No. 1 overall draft pick. They will have the option to select any quarterback prospect they want. Much of the conversation at this week’s NFL Scouting Combine is, not surprisingly, centered on USC quarterback Caleb Williams. Williams is expected to be the top pick in the draft and discussed potentially playing for the Bears on Friday.

But North Carolina’s Drake Maye has long been considered a top prospect and could be the second quarterback taken in April. If the Bears, for whatever reason, don’t like Williams at No. 1, Maye could become an option for them either at No. 1 or if they trade back to No. 2 with Washington.

General manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus certainly don’t care that drafting a North Carolina quarterback would be repeating painful history. Poles’ predecessor Ryan Pace was the one who went all in on Trubisky. Bears fans certainly haven’t forgotten.

“Mitch, shoot, he had some great years in Chicago, especially that one year making the playoffs and playing well,” Maye said. “I think a lot of people analyze [us] based off the helmet. I think we’re different players and different people, but at the same time I’m a big fan of Mitch.”

Trubisky made two playoff appearances with the Bears in 2018 and 2020, but ultimately the Bears declined to renew his contract in 2021. That’s when they drafted Justin Fields out of Ohio State.

I think a lot of people analyze [us] based off the helmet. I think we’re different players and different people, but at the same time I’m a big fan of Mitch.”

—  Drake Maye, North Carolina quarterback

Maye said he and Trubisky have been in touch in the past. Trubisky, who is a free agent after the Pittsburgh Steelers released him last month, wished him well before the 2023 season.

“He’s a great mentor any time, Carolina blue, quarterback fraternity, just try to stick together,” Maye said.

Maye called Chicago a “great sports town.” He said he didn’t have much of a relationship with the Bears prior to his meeting with the team at the combine. Maye did not attend the Senior Bowl in February, and so he did not meet with the Bears then.

Maye’s father Mark was a Tar Heels quarterback in the 1980s. Drake is the youngest of four boys. His brother Luke won a basketball national championship with North Carolina in 2017 and his brother Cole won a baseball national title with Florida in 2017.

Growing up outside Charlotte, Maye watched a lot of current Bears receiver DJ Moore on Sundays. He’s well aware of who the Bears’ weapons are on offense.

Cole Kmet is a great tight end and you’ve got DJ Moore,” Maye said. “I was a big Panthers fan growing up, so watching DJ and the ability to play in those cold weather games and Chicago’s always got a great defense.”

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for the Shaw Local News Network. He has covered the Bears since 2020. Prior to writing about the Bears, he covered high school sports for the Northwest Herald and contributed to Friday Night Drive. Sean joined Shaw Media in 2016.