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Now That the Patriots Have the QB of Their Dreams in Drake Maye, Here's How They Can Help Him Achieve His True Destiny

Like what I'd say is most Patriots fans, I've gone into this offseason with crippling trust issues. Both in the team and in myself. I've found I just got burned too many times lately to ever be able to love again. After N'Keal Harry and Cam Newton and Mac Jones and a dozen others, not to mention the coaching staff failures of the last couple of years, I just wanted to harden my heart and keep it safe from getting broken again. I am a rock. I am an island. And all that. 

Yet here I am. And most of the people I've talked to since 8:20 or so last night when the Mission Control-sized crowd in the War Room wasted no time whatsoever getting their pick in. While, based on the video, seemingly with the courage of their convictions that Drake Maye is just the guy they've been looking for. And in spite of myself, their confidence has rubbed off on me. He is, after all, my first choice. My QB Right.

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In the great "Mystery Date" game that is the NFL Draft, I truly believe he's the dream (sigh), not the dud (groan):

Of course he's got his detractors. There's never been a QB projected to go in Round 1 that didn't. I distinctly remember that after Peyton Manning started for five years at Tennessee and spent months as the mortal lock No. 1 pick, one of the national draft pundit clowns said he didn't like the way he gripped the ball. When you can nitpick your way out of a Hall of Famer in favor of the gold standard for all draft busts everywhere, Ryan Leaf, than anyone can be talked out of any prospect. 

But make no mistake, Maye didn't just materialize onto the draft boards out of some other dimension. Credit where it's due once again to NFL Mock Draft Database for this chart which tracks how consistently he's been a Top 3 pick through the entire process:

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Despite the talk of his footwork, ball placement, decision-making, step-back year in 2023 and possibly even the way he grips the ball. And because of all the other admittedly raw tools he brings. There's a reason why the Vikings, Giants and Broncos were all vying to get that third pick.

Like I said about JJ McCarthy, the first thing everyone always mentions about his are his intangibles and his immeasurables. And after two years of watching Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe take each other on in an epic battle of who can produce the most 3 & outs and turnovers, I want nothing but tangibles that we can measure the ever living shit out of. Such as size. Arm strength. Speed. Production. Passing stats. Running stats. Deep ball stats:

But no one player at any position has ever met with success - or emailed, texted, FaceTimed or DM'ed it - without being in the exact right situation. A great quarterback can improve a team, but no one has ever carried a shitty one on his own. If the Pats had taken Todd Husak in 2000 and Tom Brady went instead to Cleveland seven picks later, he'd be the Bay Area's handsomest high school coach (football and baseball). And the world may never know how close Trevor Lawrence came to having his career derailed by Urban Meyer's clueless dumbassery.

So here is what the Pats need to do to maximize their return on the draft capital they just invested:

Take their time.

Eliot Wolf and Jerod Mayo have a luxury few GMs and HCs enjoy: The luxury of patience. Which is not to say unlimited patience. No one's ready to keep sitting around until the the Ape Uprising takes over the planet waiting for our next playoff win. But if, God forbid, they go 4-13 next year, no one's going to be talking about hot seats. No one to be taken seriously, at least. And judging by the fact Wolf still has the most cap money in the entire league for this year and next, he's obviously under no pressure from ownership to start throwing it around, just for the instant gratification. It looks for all the world like this was the plan all along. You'll note they signed Jacoby Brissett to a one year deal, while Washington signed no one to anything. They needed Jayden Daniels, a much more complete, NFL ready plug-and-play guy. Maye is a project. And as long as work seems to be progressing, Pats fans will take the 2024 season with Brissett as QB1 for what it is. A step in the process toward a brighter future. 

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Train the boy.

I don't mean "boy" in any pejorative sense. I mean it in the "There's something about this boy  that he can be the Chosen One who will bring balance to the Force" kind of way. But it will require he complete his Jedi training before he can face the Buffalos and Miamis. It's going to take the aforementioned patience. But also tons of work. Alex Van Pelt, Ben McAdoo and TC McCartney had better bloody well know how to work with the player. To refine his bad habits like sloppy footwork, minimize his mistakes, like forcing balls into coverage, all while developing his best traits:

Yahoo Sports - He is super accurate in the middle of the field, too, as Pro Football Focus' Steve Palazzolo explained on NBC Sports Boston's Next Pats Podcast earlier this month.

"I think Drake Maye is one of the best middle-of-the-field throwers I've ever seen in college football," Palazzolo said. "As far as the feel (of) throwing a seam route, throwing the ball around defenders, throwing with touch, layering it -- the middle of the field is outstanding. I think he's got to work outside the numbers a little bit better. That's my quick take on Drake."

As we learned in the most painful way imaginable with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, you can pour sugar in the gas tank of a promising young QB's career and damage it beyond repair, just by giving him bad advice and putting the wrong voice in his headset. 

Get him help. 

None of these points are exactly ground-shakers. And this one is particularly obvious. But it has to be mentioned because it refers to tonight. The areas of need on this team are self-explanatory. You can always use more talent on defense. And there are certainly good prospects still available. But when you were last in the league in points, had the worst wide receiver depth chart in football, and your offensive line was essentially the starting lineup of the Washington Generals, this is not the time to be overthinking things. 

The bad news is that the Bills are drafting ahead of us, and by all accounts are going with a wideout. The good news is there will still be solid receiver prospects on the board. Two that I put on my Wish List in Georgia's Ladd McConkey and Maye's favorite target at UNC, Devontez Walker. I didn't put Adonai Mitchell on my Wedding Registry just because I didn't seem him lasting through Round 1, but here he is. And he's got more potential to be the top flight X-receiver they've been lacking since forever. And should the Bills take any of them, there are still fallback options like Keon Coleman of Florida State and Roman Wilson from Michigan. 

If Wolf opts to fill the giant crater in the ground where a left tackle should be, I had BYU's Kingsley Suamataia as a good pick at No. 34 on my list. And Kiran Amegadjie from Yale and his preposterous, 36 1/8" wingspan as a 3rd round option if they go wide receiver first. 

The larger point being that this would be the perfect time to do what they did in Round 1, which is take advantage of their ideal draft position and find talent at major positions of need. Never forget that so many winnable games had to die in order that we may live to see another day. Don't let those 13 losses have died for nothing.  

Regardless, we got the thing we needed most out of this draft so far: Hope. Now build on it.