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New England Patriots Top 30 Visit: North Carolina QB Drake Maye



Potential New England Patriots pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye (10) throws a pass before a football game against Appalachian State, Saturday Sept. 3, 2022, in Boone, N.C. (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay)

Every NFL franchise is allowed to invite up to 30 draft prospects to visit their facilities and meet with the members of the organization before the NFL Draft. These selections range from first-round targets to players who might be available as undrafted free agents. As news about the New England Patriots Top 30 visits surface, Patriots Football Now will highlight each of the visitors. Today’s feature is North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye.

College Career

Drake Maye was ranked as a four-star prospect from Myers Park High School in Charlotte, N.C. His composite ranks (via 247 Sports) placed him as the No. 56 prospect in the country, No. 9 quarterback, and No. 1 player from North Carolina in the Class of 2021.

After originally committing to Alabama, Maye flipped his commitment to North Carolina. The Maye family has a long legacy at UNC. His father played quarterback for the Tar Heels, and two of his brothers played basketball for North Carolina.

Maye backed up future NFL QB Sam Howell as a true freshman in 2021. He took over as starting quarterback the following season and made the most of his opportunity. He led the ACC in passing yards (4,321), completion percentage (66.2%), and touchdown passes (38). Following the season, Drake Maye was named 2022 ACC Player of the Year.

Coming into the 2023 season the expectations for Maye were incredibly high. He had lost wide receivers Josh Downs and Antoine Green, both of whom were selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. Although he once again led the ACC in passing yards (3,608) his numbers were down across the board. His touchdown pass total dropped to 24.

During Drake Maye’s two seasons as a starter for UNC he completed 64.9% of his passes for 7,929 yards, 62 touchdowns, and threw 16 interceptions. Maye rushed for an additional 1,147 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Pro Football Focus graded Maye’s performances in both seasons as exceptional. He received a 91.5 in 2022 and dipped only slightly to 90.8 in 2023.

NFL Draft

Drake Maye does not turn 22 years old until August 30. While a lot has been made about the youth of Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy, he is less than five months younger than Maye.

Maye attended the NFL Scouting Combine but did not work out. He measured in at 6-foot-4 and weighed 223 pounds. He possesses a strong arm and the ability to throw on the move. His rushing stats also show an ability to run when needed, though Maye will want to work on his ability to slide down in the NFL and avoid unnecessary contact.

Maye’s mechanics need improvement, particularly setting his feet and not always relying on the strength of his arm. He throws slightly unorthodox, not unlike one of his primary NFL comps, Philip Rivers. Based on his size, athleticism, and production, the ceiling for Maye is incredibly high. It earned him the No. 1 spot on the quarterback prospect rankings on this site. In addition to his considerable physical attributes, Maye also showed great leadership and camaraderie in this past season. He got his offensive line paid through one of his NIL deals.

USC quarterback Caleb Williams is the expected No. 1 pick of the 2024 NFL Draft, with the Chicago Bears owning the selection. Drake Maye will hear his name called soon after.

The New England Patriots have indicated a desire to add a premier quarterback in the upcoming draft. Selecting No. 3 overall, they have their highest selection since they took Drew Bledsoe first overall in 1993. Despite the recent rumors surrounding Eliot Wolf’s love of J.J. McCarthy, if Drake Maye does not go second to the Washington Commanders, he will likely be the Patriots’ choice and face of the franchise for years to come.

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