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Where will Drake Maye go? 2024 NFL Draft simulation sees QB-needy team land UNC star

Drake Maye is widely expected to be the second quarterback off the board in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Maye is in his third season at the University of North Carolina and his second year as the starter. He entered the season as a Heisman frontrunner, but his season didn’t go as expected, largely due to the Tar Heels struggling.

However, even with that, Sportskeeda’s Mock Draft Simulator projects Maye to be drafted third overall to the New England Patriots.

The 2024 NFL Draft Order still will change but it is expected that Maye will be a top-three pick and landing with the Patriots makes a lot of sense.

Although Mac Jones is still under contract for one more season, the former Alabama Crimson Tide has been benched multiple times this season and his time in New England is likely over. With that, the Patriots selecting Maye makes a lot of sense for the franchise desperately in need of a new quarterback.

The Patriots had hoped that bringing Bill O’Brien to town would cure some of what ails Jones, who was deemed as the most NFL-ready quarterback in his draft class. The going has been tough for other quarterbacks from the 2021 class as well. While Trevor Lawrence is seen as a franchise quarterback the likes of Zach Wilson and Trey Lance have flattered to deceive. The latter was recently traded to the Dallas Cowboys, though he still third on their depth chart. 

In any case, going by the rumblings in the NFL news circle, it appears the decision to stick by Jones was more of a decree from Patriots owner Robert Kraft. It remains to be seen how long that lasts, with the Patriots expected to land the third overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, one that is widely seen as a much more pedigreed QB draft class than one that delivered the likes of Jones, Wilson and company.

ESPN Draft insider Mel Kiper Jr. has also praised Drake Maye throughout the draft process and views him as the third-best prospect in this draft.

“[Maye] looks the part of a big-time NFL signal-caller,” Kiper wrote. “He can make every throw with ease. He’s accurate on the move and can pick up first downs with his legs. Maye varies his pass speeds really well — he knows when to take a little off to make it easier for his receivers. He has outstanding touch on vertical throws.”

Sportskeeda’s Tony Pauline, an expert on NFL draft prospects, had this to say on comparisons between Drake Maye and Caleb Williams earlier this year: 

“Williams is a dynamic talent – on the field, in the huddle and on the sidelines. He’s been touted as a special player and is the favorite to be the first pick of next year’s draft. Maye has better size and a slightly better arm than the Heisman Trophy winner. He’s more of a game manager compared to Williams, yet has shown the ability to carry a team on his shoulders.”

If a team outside the top three wants to draft Drake Maye, they will likely need to trade up to select the Tar Heels star.

As such, it makes it all the more likely that the Patriots will consider bringing Maye to Boston, New England. Jones has been vocal about wanting to be the starting quarterback for the Patriots. However, Belichick appears to have all but lost faith in the former Alabama recruit. 

The Patriots head coach refused to name a starting QB for Week 12, fueling the fires of speculation that the franchise has given up on Jones. 

Under such circumstances, it would behoove the Patriots to take a longer look at Maye heading into the new year. 


Drake Maye’s college career in review

Drake Maye is in his second season as the starting quarterback for the UNC Tar Heels.

This season, Maye went 269-for-425 for 3,608 yards, 24 touchdowns, and nine interceptions in another solid college year.

In his career, Maye went 618-for-952 for 8,018 yards, 63 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions. 

Although the Tar Heels will be playing in a bowl game, Maye is uncertain if he will play in that game as he will likely start his preparation for the 2024 NFL Draft.

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