5 Initial Thoughts on Patriots Taking Drake Maye With No. 3 Pick in NFL Draft

    Despite rumors about a possible trade, the New England Patriots took Drake Maye with the No. 3 pick in the NFL Draft. Here are five initial thoughts.

    For months, Patriots fans have wondered what New England would do with the No. 3 pick in the NFL Draft. Would the franchise’s new regime keep the pick and draft a quarterback, or trade it away for more assets?

    We finally got our answer Thursday night. The Patriots used the third overall pick to select UNC quarterback Drake Maye, an imperfect but incredibly talented prospect. Here’s our rapid reaction to a franchise-altering night for New England.

    5 Initial Thoughts on Patriots Drafting Drake Maye

    The Patriots Did the Right Thing

    New England surely could’ve gotten a major haul for the No. 3 pick. Both of the Minnesota Vikings’ first-round picks probably were in play. The Patriots could’ve taken a receiver or tackle early in the draft, then targeted a QB later in Round 1 or in Round 2.

    They were in a position of power, and there were strong arguments for multiple strategies. However, in the end, Eliot Wolf and company did the right thing.

    Maye is a flawed prospect. His footwork needs, well, work, and you can’t ignore the accuracy issues that popped up during his final season at UNC.

    But Maye has the size (6-foot-4, 223 pounds), athleticism, and raw arm talent that teams dream of. He can make every throw on the field and is a dangerous runner. He’s also viewed as a high-character prospect with an equally high football IQ.

    There’s a reason Maye is compared to Josh Allen and Justin Herbert. He has that kind of ability despite his shortcomings.

    The Patriots have other needs — there’s no denying it. And their roster might not be ready to prop up a young, developing quarterback. But when you need a QB and are drafting third overall in a quarterback-rich draft, you don’t pass up the opportunity.

    The Patriots wisely didn’t give in to trade temptation. Even if Maye fails, this is the right choice.

    Maye Might Not Start for a Long Time

    Maye seems ticketed for a red-shirt season. At the very least, he probably isn’t a Week 1 starter. That seems to be the general consensus among NFL Draft experts and coaches around the league.

    Maye has the talent to become one of the best quarterbacks in football. But his game, in its current state, is also ripe for early career meltdowns. He could use a year to refine his mechanics and work on his decision-making, especially when under pressure.

    The Patriots likely agree. They planned for this by signing veteran backup Jacoby Brissett, who’s a capable starter and a willing mentor. Brissett is the perfect quarterback to keep the seat warm for Maye as he develops behind the scenes.

    Is there a chance Maye will win a QB competition in training camp? Sure, but don’t be surprised if he begins his Patriots career with a clipboard in hand.

    Is Maye a Steal at No. 3?

    You could make that case. Kind of.

    In September, Maye was viewed as the consensus No. 2 quarterback prospect. Some even had him ranked ahead of Caleb Williams, whom the Chicago Bears selected with the No. 1 pick.

    Jayden Daniels? He was considered a Day 2 pick. Forget about J.J. McCarthy.

    Of course, things changed throughout the season. Maye, with a reduced supporting cast, struggled throughout a disappointing campaign. Other quarterbacks boosted their stocks.

    Still, as recently as December, Maye was viewed as the second-best QB in the class. And as the Patriots limped through a miserable season, many believed they needed to finish with a top-two pick. Without it, they’d lose out on Maye and be left in no-man’s land.

    And yet, when the dust settled, the Patriots finished with the No. 3 pick and still landed Maye. The Washington Commanders selected Daniels at No. 2.

    You could say the Patriots settled for a risky, high-ceiling/low-floor quarterback who was the third-best QB in the class. But you also could say that Daniels forced his way into the No. 2 spot; Maye didn’t fall — he was overtaken.

    Patriots fans have more concerns about Maye now than they would’ve three months ago. But when we look back in five years, we might say the Patriots ultimately took the best quarterback in the draft.

    After all, Maye is the top player on Pro Football Network’s Big Board — even ahead of Williams.

    Maye Might Have Some Growing Up To Do

    If you watch Maye answer questions at a podium, you can see why some around the NFL reportedly question his maturity. He doesn’t come across as a bad guy or anything; rather, he looks and sounds like an excitable 21-year-old. He just might have a little growing up to do — which is fine.

    Consider this quote from an NFL personnel executive who spoke with Go Long!’s Bob McGinn:

    “There’s a lot of that on film: bad pocket awareness, there’s some bad plays. But he’s just a big athlete that can really throw it. To me, he’s perfect for New England (which holds the No. 3 pick) because they’ve got Jacoby (Brissett). I think he’d be perfect there to sit for a year. He is the biggest high-ceiling, low-floor guy. Because he’s immature. Not bad immature — he’s just like a kid.”

    Being the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots, one of the NFL’s premier franchises, is a lot different than playing for UNC. Maye must be both a great player and a leader of men. The good news is that numerous evaluators and experts revere Maye for his leadership and how he handled himself during pre-draft meetings.

    Maye has the talent and makeup to be the face of the Patriots. He just might need a year to grow into the role.

    Bill Belichick’s Thoughts on Maye

    We’re gonna cheat a bit, as these aren’t our thoughts. They’re the thoughts of former Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who didn’t exactly gush over Maye during his appearance on The Pat McAfee Show’s draft broadcast.

    Take a look:

    It probably is safe to say that Belichick would’ve drafted someone other than Maye or traded out of that spot. He certainly wouldn’t have drafted him with the belief he’d be a Week 1 starter.

    Nevertheless, the Patriots and their fans should be cautiously optimistic about adding Maye. If he reaches his potential, New England will have a star on its hands.

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