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Patriots Pick Drake Maye at No. 3 in the 2024 NFL Draft



2024 NFL Draft prospect, North Carolina's Drake Maye (10) passes against Florida A&M during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022 (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

After Chicago selected USC’s Caleb Williams and Washington took LSU’s Jayden Daniels, the New England Patriots were on the clock at the 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit. They were selecting No. 3 overall, the franchise’s highest draft pick since 1993. And just as they did 31 years ago, New England opted for a quarterback with their selection. This time it was North Carolina QB Drake Maye.

Maye was ranked as the No. 1 quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft in the Patriots Football Now rankings. Now Patriots Nation has the hopes of turning around the franchise riding largely on the shoulders of the 21-year-old Tar Heel.

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.

Leading up to the 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. 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.

Future in New England

The New England Patriots had indicated a desire to add a premier quarterback in the NFL Draft, but only if they were in love with the prospect. The consensus among Eliot Wolf and the Patriots’ decision-makers must have been a fondness for Drake Maye. He joins a quarterback room in New England that includes veterans Jacoby Brissett, Bailey Zappe, and Nathan Rourke. Maye will likely be allowed to win the starting job, though having him sit for a season is certainly a possibility as well. More will be known about the team’s plans once their rookie QB steps on the field with his new teammates in training camp.

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