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It Sounds Like the Patriots are Smitten With Drake Maye

[Note: You'll have to pardon the timing on this. I actually wrote it earlier in the week and for some reason (probably because I got called away to go do something manly and heroic), never published it. But since it would be considered a crime against humanity to let it go unread, I'll post it now. I owe it to the world.]

Like I said a few days ago, the Patriots went to Indy for the Lucas Oil Olympics committed to due their due diligence on the top quarterbacks. Which should be music to the ears of anyone who wants to see a true offensive rebuild. And not just settle for the instant gratification and marginal improvement that would come from signing a free agent. Like this speculation that was kicked around over the weekend:

Which I'm not just dismissing by the way. Eliot Wolf was on the personnel staff in Cleveland that drafted Baker Mayfield. So this possibility could be very real. I for one just have higher aspirations than squandering a huge chunk of available cap space to a 29 year old Bridge Guy, just to make this team somewhat better in the short term. I guess I'm less impressed with Mayfield than most people, despite his 2023 Most Improved Player award and receiving the 2022 Nickelodeon Value Player trophy. 

Call me greedy, but I want more. Yes, drafting a quarterback with the third pick is fraught with peril. The bust factor with these guys is off the charts. The risk is incalculable. But history is not written by timid men. Fortune favors the bold, and all that. 

And with that comes the news that Wolf's and Jerod Mayo's staffs were most impressed with Drake Maye:

Source - [I]t's worth pointing out that the Patriots felt as though it was North Carolina's Drake Maye who conducted the most impressive quarterback meeting of the week, thanks to the energy and intelligence he displayed in his 20-minute back-and-forth with New England brass. …

Though his combine interview was only a first impression, the Patriots won't write off his personality as an unimportant trait. At the quarterback position, if you want your teammates to play for you, you better bring some enthusiasm to your job. 

It's early in the getting-to-know-you process, but with a strong interview last week, Maye showed New England he has a chance to check that box as a pro.

And watching Maye break down his own game film for a few minutes, you can see why they'd be impressed:

By way of explanation, that's Colt McCoy sitting to Maye's right. The connection here is that both played for Mack Brown. McCoy at Texas (where they won the BCS Championship in 2009) and of course Maye at UNC (where they lost two Duke's Mayo Bowls). 

More relevantly, it's not hard to see what the Pats like in the guy. On that play at the 0:50 mark, he shows his ability to process the defensive look he's facing. To correctly slide his protection. Identify his best matchup. Then move in the pocket to get a clearer shot. And to connect on the throw. At the 3:00 mark, they go over the play where he's throwing from his own end zone. He identifies Quarters coverage. It's Four Verticals. He immediately spots the cushion the boundary corner is giving, and throws it back shoulder to his outside wideout. As McCoy calls it, "Teach tape." 

To this point, I've been leaning much more to Jayden Daniels, whose biggest flaw you keep hearing about his weight. Which just happens to be the easiest fix in human physiology. At the moment, anyway. We're probably on the verge of finding ways to make guys taller or their hands bigger. And Elon Musk probably already has a Neuralink chip that will help you recognize Fire Zone blitzes and rotating coverage. But if Mac can cultivate tons of disgusting mass just to make a season of It's Always Sunny funnier:

… then an elite 23 year old athlete can pack on a few pounds of muscle in one offseason under the supervision of a staff of professional muscle packers. And I stand by my assessment that Daniels is the better option. 

But hearing how impressed New England's braintrust was with Maye, I'll happily accept him as a consolation prize should Washington grab Daniels. There's also the very real possibility they go with Marvin Harrison Jr. In that case, Maye vs. Daniels will be a hell of a dilemma to have. The sort of Champagne Problem only the very worst of franchises ever face. One we're not accustomed to around here. But one that will make a wretched 4-13 season and the utter collapse of a once proud offense worth going through. 

Draft day can't come soon enough.