6 Patriots already benefiting from Drake Maye's presence

Key players on offense ready to rock
New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills
New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills / Rich Barnes/GettyImages

The New England Patriots invested heavily in third-overall draft pick quarterback Drake Maye. The jury is still out on whether Maye will start from the get-go (he should) or not. But, at some point this
season, he will.

Maye will upgrade the Pats' woeful 2023 offense dramatically. He’s a multi-talented, dual-threat quarterback. His skill set will make everyone better. Here, we’ll concentrate on six players already benefiting from having Drake Maye at QB. Likely, all hope Maye starts from the outset as he should. We’ll see about that.

We’ll discuss the players who’ll benefit from Maye at QB. Anyone else who plays on the offense will similarly benefit but we'll center on those likely to get the most playing time from the outset. So Lets’ Go! and point out who are the biggest beneficiaries of Maye's being the Patriots’ quarterback.

6 Patriots already benefiting from Drake Maye's presence

Wide receiver Demario Douglas and two rookie wideouts lead the parade

Demario Douglas was a 2023 sixth-round pick who lit up Gillette Stadium in 2023. The diminutive slot receiver exceeded all expectations and emerged as the Patriots’ rookie of the year. Douglas notched 49 catches for 561 yards last season, playing in 14 games, starting seven. He was foolishly benched early due to an early fumble. Regardless, Douglas unexpectedly emerged as the team’s best receiver.

With Maye at QB, Douglas’ agility, quick acceleration, and separation will benefit greatly from Maye’s ability to get the ball to his receivers anywhere, anytime. Maye finds open receivers, and Douglas gets open. One aspect of Douglas’ 2023 season that must have irked him was that he had no receiving TDs. Maye will remedy that in a hurry. Expect Douglas and Maye to connect for 5-8 TDs.

Other top beneficiaries of QB Maye will be talented rookie receivers Ja’Lynn Polk and Javon Baker, second and fourth-round picks, respectively. Both are marching lock-step with Maye from the
outset of their Patriot careers.

With a number of 2023 Patriot wideouts on the roster bubble, expect both Polk and Baker to
immediately emerge as contributors. Polk is gaining nice reviews, including from top Patriot analyst Greg Bedard on the Greg Bedard Patriot podcast.

Baker is talented and determined. He’ll surprise. Both can separate and catch in traffic. Each will benefit from Maye’s rocket arm and pocket escapability. Expect Polk to have a 50-plus catch season and Baker to have between 35 and 40.

Hunter Henry and two running backs will benefit big

Tight end Hunter Henry will relish having Maye at QB. The veteran was rated a top-two tight end in free agency this season by Pro Football Focus. He’s steady, if not spectacular. Henry played in 14 games last season. He notched 42 passes for 419 yards and six TDs.

Maye can thread the needle in the middle of the field, throw on the run, and turn scrambles into big gainers, Henry will thrive with that type of QB. Expect a season of 55 catches for 600 yards and 7 TDs for the big Y tight end.

Two running backs will also reap rewards from having Maye at quarterback, albeit for different reasons. Running back Rhamondre Stevenson, recently signed to a big extension, will benefit not so much from Maye’s arm as from the threat of his passing.

He’s the Pats’ main running threat. Maye’s passing will help open up the running game, especially since his offensive line, as presently constituted, is geared more toward the run than the pass.
RPOs can also be implemented. Stevenson will be the point man on most of those runs.

The imminent threat of Maye’s running will also create opportunities with draw plays. Stevenson will be the big beneficiary of those plays. Expect another 1000-yard rushing season for the big back. And finally, the last great beneficiary of Maye at QB is newly acquired third-down back Antonio Gibson.

He’s the best here since James White hung up his cleats. Gibson is a top receiver in his own right. Another big-back at 6’2” and 220, he can run a little. But his forte is catching the ball out of the backfield. In 2023, he reeled in 48 passes for 389 yards and 2 TDs. Not earth-shattering numbers, but focus on the 48 catches. With Maye at the helm, expect more.

The projection here is 60 catches for 550 yards and six TDs. He’ll be the safety valve for Maye on third downs and pose additional problems for opposing defenses in the process. And, since he can also run the ball, he’s a dual threat to keep defenses honest. He's a nice addition, indeed.

Those are Patriots who’ve already benefited from Drake Maye’s arrival. There will be others. Maye is the key to all of it. One thing can preclude all these positives from happening, however. That's the team itself if they keep Maye on the bench for any reason. Hopefully, the Pats understand that.

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