Former GM knows when Drake Maye will be Patriots starter, and it's not Week 1

May 11, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Drake Maye (10) works out at at the New England Patriots rookie camp at Gillette Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
May 11, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Drake Maye (10) works out at at the New England Patriots rookie camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots entered the 2024 offseason with a prime objective in mind; find the right quarterback to lead this team to success for years to come. Fortunately for new head coach Jerod Mayo and executive vice president of player personnel Eliot Wolf, the team held the third overall pick in this year's draft.

That ensured they would have the opportunity to get one of the best quarterbacks of the 2024 class, which is exactly what they did. However, because rookie quarterbacks are not always ready to start from the get-go, they signed veteran Jacoby Brissett to fill the role of a bridge player in free agency, and will presumably mentor Maye until he's ready to go.

Mayo and offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt have stated that Brissett will be the Week 1 starter, which is the plan as they head into training camp later this month. Some take issue with that, given they used their first-round pick on a quarterback to be that player. But Maye's inexperience might be a factor in keeping him sidelined until deemed ready.

He's already impressed throughout the spring, as he started OTAs as the third-string quarterback and ended minicamp right behind Brissett. If that continues this summer, we might see a tougher quarterback competition than anticipated.

However, analysts believe Brissett will remain the starter no matter what happens, which then begs the question of when Maye will eventually get the start.

It remains a debate with varying predictions, but former general manager turned writer for The 33rd Team Jeff Diamond believes he knows when Maye will get the nod, and it's not Week 1.

Jeff Diamond predicts the Patriots' rough start to the year will determine Drake Maye's start

Because Brissett's NFL career has been mostly spent as a backup, there's not much faith that he will be productive as the Patriots starter this season. There is a belief he could perform similarly to the best season of his career with the Browns because he is reuniting with OC Van Pelt, but given the questionable offense around him, there are more concerns than optimism.

On top of that, the Patriots have one of the most difficult strengths of schedule for the 2024 season, which also doesn't bode well for a team in the midst of a rebuild and a rookie quarterback looking to make his first pro start.

Because of the predicted rough start to the season, Diamond believes that will inevitably determine when Maye takes the field for the first time as the Patriots' starter, prompting his prediction of the quarterback taking over in Week 6.

“The Patriots have a rough first six weeks with matchups against three 2023 playoff teams and three other expected playoff contenders, plus three of the first four are on the road (at Cincinnati, home vs. Seattle, at Jets, at San Francisco before home games vs. Miami and Houston).

There’s not much pressure on a new coach in Mayo to play Maye immediately, considering the low expectations for the Patriots, who are coming off a 4-13 season and play in the tough AFC East.

Brissett gets the nod early, but after a likely 1-4 or 0-5 start, the switch is made to Maye so he can accelerate his development by getting regular-season experience."

It seems like a fair prediction, given the team's tough road to kick off the new season, plus allowing Maye to observe Brissett for at least six weeks before being put into a game. Watching NFL games from the sideline, learning from the veterans and coaches as it's all happening, is an invaluable experience for Maye and could ultimately add to the foundation of his eventual success with the team.

It might not be what many Patriots fans want to hear, as most feel Maye should get the start no matter what happens at training camp. However, there are many benefits to a young quarterback sitting during their rookie season, for most of, if not the entire year.

Because it could be argued the team isn't entirely built for a quarterback to be successful, it might be wiser to have a veteran like Brissett deal with it first and figure out the best way to improve things before throwing Maye out there and hoping for the best.

The main goal is to do everything possible to make Maye successful in the long term and avoid another Mac Jones situation. Having the quarterback hold off on starting might be the best way to prevent catastrophe.

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