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Drew Bledsoe Chimes in on New England Developing Drake Maye

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FILE--This is a July 1995 file photo of New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who ended last season by throwing four straight incompletetions in a a 20-13 playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns. Bledsoe will face Cleveland again in the Patriots season opener Sunday Sept. 3, 1995 in Foxboro, Mass. Bledsoe recently commented on how the New England Patriots will approach the development of rookie QB Drake Maye (AP Photo/Mark E. Johnson)

Last month the New England Patriots selected North Carolina quarterback with the No. 3 overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft. It was the team’s highest draft pick since Robert Kraft bought the franchise in 1994. The last time New England had picked so high was in 1993 when they drafted Washington State QB Drew Bledsoe first overall.

Bledsoe was recently a guest on Up and Adams with Kay AdamsHe discussed several topics, including the Tom Brady roast, his wine company, and the development of Drake Maye. Specifically, he was asked to answer the question that comes with all rookie quarterbacks taken in Round 1…

To Play or Not to Play?

“It’s always a dilemma, right? Because when you’re drafted that high, by definition, you’re going to a team that’s not very good,” Bledsoe said. “I preferred to play and learn by being under fire. I think you can make a case for either decision.”

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Drew Bledsoe was the Week 1 starter for New England as a rookie. He missed three games due to injury and went 5-8 in his 13 starts. But both his play and that of his team improved as the season progressed. They finished the season on a four-game win streak. Three years later Bledsoe led the Patriots to the 1996 AFC Championship.

“I think it’s really going to come down to how he looks in training camp and if he looks like he’s ready to go. And I don’t know Drake (Maye), but then it comes down to what’s his mental make up? Can he weather the storm of getting knocked around and not having success early without shaking his confidence. Or is it going to be better for him to sit and watch for a little bit.”

The Benefit of Alex Van Pelt

One of Drew Bledsoe’s teammates in the NFL was the New England Patriots offensive coordinator. Bledsoe believes this will be a great benefit to Maye’s development.

“One thing that he has that’s very, very significant going for him is Alex Van Pelt,” Bledsoe said. “So Alex, we were together in Buffalo for a few years and no disrespect to Zo (Scott Zolak) Alex from a backup standpoint, he was the one that had the best football mind. And he also has just this incredibly calm demeanor. He played quarterback in the league for a decade and he’s six-foot and chubby, so obviously he had to win with his brain.”

“So I really think that Alex (Van Pelt) is one of those special quarterback whisperer kind of dudes that’s going to help him.”

What Will New England Do?

“They’ll take all factors into account,” Bledsoe said. “What’s our best chance to win right now? But also, what’s best for this kid’s long-term future, and in turn, the future of the franchise?”

That decision will ultimately made those still employed by the New England Patriots, not a quarterback who last played for the Patriots 23 years ago. It remains unclear whether the Kraft family, Eliot Wolf, Jerod Mayo, Alex Van Pelt, or a collaboration of voices will get the final say on when Drake Maye is ready to play.

But Drew Bledsoe does offer a unique perspective on Drake Maye’s situation. Would Maye withstand the issues that come with early failures amid high expectations? How will Boston sports media react to his inevitable struggles? How much grace will he get from New England Patriots fans? Regardless of whether Maye starts in Week 1 of 2024 or sits until 2025, thick skin will be a prerequisite for the job. Stay tuned.

Award-winning blogger, Dan's work has also been featured on Fox Sports, Boston Metro, Barstool Sports, MLB.com, and many other outlets.

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