Stella Blue Coffee | Win A Game Day Experience With Big CatLEARN MORE

Advertisement

The Patriots are BACK With Their New Franchise QB Drake Maye

Advertisement

Sometimes in this world, if you keep hope alive, believe there is goodness in this world, and don't lose your faith, you get what you asked for. Tonight is just such a night. 

For all the talk of trades, strategies that involve filling other positions or drafting quarterbacks who were near the top of NOBODY'S draft board a few short weeks ago, the Patriots did precisely what I was hoping for when I issued a list of demands back in January:

No More Reaches in the Draft

I get that the professional draft guru class and the mock draft sites don't have it right. Not often. Probably not ever. But I'm done with off-the-wall, way-too-early selections no one could've possibly seen coming when they did. To put a name and some faces to it, I don't want to see this reaction ever again:

[U]nder the new regime, I'd rather take my hits and misses going with the conventional wisdom than with the unconventional irrationality.

With this pick, the new brain trust of Mr. Kraft, Eliot Wolf and Jerod Mayo did exactly that. They didn't get cute. They didn't overthink it. Hell, they didn't even hesitate, probably setting a record for quickest time between "On the Clock" and "Pick is In" in the history of the Top 3. If they got the pick in any faster, they probably would've created a rip in spacetime. 

More to the point, in doing so they landed the guy I wanted more than any other:

Drake Maye, North Carolina. 6-foot-4, 223 pounds, 34 1/4" arm, 9 1/8" hand

Advertisement

Though it should be noted that long before the Pats entire personnel department arrived at the field house, Maye had them at "hello": 

Let's find out why:

Overall: In 2022, Maye became only the second player (after Jameis Winston) to win ACC Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Offensive Rookie of the Year in the same season when he threw for over 4,300 yards, with 38 TDs and just 7 INTs. He also added just shy of 700 rushing yards and another 7 TDs on the ground, both team highs. That won him the Shaun Alexander Award as the nation's top freshman and a finalist for the Manning Award as the top QB. He excelled at UNC's no-huddle spread attack, operating almost exclusively out of the gun with short drops, running read-options and RPOs.

Positives: He fits the prototype of modern day pro quarterback. What the guys in the lab coats would draw up, assemble in the R&D lab, test in a wind tunnel, and then present to the board as the next innovation that's going to make us all rich. He's massive, but also possesses high level athletic traits. He can move for a guy his size, with both a scramble ability (scrambility? I'll work on it), and the legs to pick up yards when a play breaks down. He's got a big arm. As you saw above, can launch a ball 65 yards with minimal effort and hit his target in stride. One scout graded him for 11 games and said he was dead-balls accurate on 21 of 26 attempts. And as we get to the areas where he needs to improve, keep in mind that despite already having 30 starts in his career, he won't turn 22 until the last week of Training Camp. And still, as the Patriots discovered at the Indianapolis Dog & Pony Show, he gives great interview for a young fella.

Negatives: Maye is arguably the most polarizing 1st round prospect of the draft. I'd suggest we start calling him "Maybe," but I'm not Rick Reilly and this isn't the last page of the Sports Illustrated you subscribed to in 1997 so you could get a phone shaped like a football. What Maye has in terms of sheer size, ability, strength, speed and intangibles, he lacks in consistency. Particularly when it comes to ball placement. Which is obviously an important job requirement. It's commonly believed that while he didn't throw a ton of interceptions, the ones he did throw tended to be off target throws and mental errors. He also demonstrates a bad habit of drifting around the pocket as he's going through his progressions, which makes pass protection a nightmare for his pass protectors. 

The Generic Equivalent of: Justin Herbert

To bottom line this, Maye needs refinement, coaching and patience. And therefore might not be an NFL-ready, plug-and-play guy for a team needing to fast forward to the part where they're a contender again. Which makes New England the ideal landing spot. A new head coach. A new GM. A team undergoing a major rebuild with Jacoby Brissett under center for a year as a bridge quarterback. It's not every year a QB with Drake Maye's ceiling. If he should get past Washington, the Patriots (distant) future is bright again. Let it be so.

My reaction: 

Advertisement

Credit where it's due to the new regime for doing the thing where they handed Brissett a one-year deal and gave themselves the flexibility to draft and develop a 21-year-old. As opposed to Washington who signed no one and boxed themselves into a position where they had to take the most plug-and-play guy left after Caleb Williams. Next year we'll all be one year older, but with a QB ready to (I'm stealing this slogan from my brother) Thrive in 2025.

I'll just finish with this. I heard from a friend from out of state who said he spoke to a guy who's an official in the ACC. My buddy was wearing a Pats sweatshirt and his referee guy mentioned they might draft Maye. Then proceeded to say his UNC teammates LOVED him. He said typically he'll get offensive linemen occasionally bad-mouthing their quarterback under their breath, like this guy is a diva or what a garbage throw that was or I'm blocking my ass off for him and he still takes a sack or whatever. With Maye, there was none of that. Never. And he's bringing that great teammate energy to a franchise desperately in need of it. 

So Cue the Duckboats. Starting in 2025. We'll be a year older, but one year closer to these dark times being over once and for all. Thanks, Wolf!

Giphy Images.