After the conclusion of Week 14 on Monday night, the Patriots still hold the second overall pick in the 2024 draft, with an even better chance at remaining in the top-4 than anticipated. It had become a concern after they beat the Steelers on Thursday Night Football, but all those worries can be put to rest for at least one more week.
And now, they got some good news to kick off their preparation for the Chiefs next Sunday, as the quarterback favorite to land in New England officially declared for the draft on Monday evening, becoming the first of the top projected quarterbacks to make the announcement.
Although there wasn't much doubt about Drake Maye entering the draft, he was still eligible to return to the University of North Carolina for one more season, as he is just a sophomore. This opens the door for the Patriots to go all-in on their research of Maye if they are interested in addressing the position early, and he seems like an ideal prospect for a team in need of a complete roster overhaul this offseason.
It would be hard to argue against considering Maye as the inevitable Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe replacement. During his three years at UNC, he recorded a 64.9% completion, threw for 8,018 yards, ran for 1,209 yards, totaled 62 passing touchdowns and 16 rushing touchdowns with just 16 interceptions in 30 games.
His college career has him ranked just below Caleb Williams with most draft analysts, and he could be the perfect guy for the Patriots to take a chance on with their highest draft pick in over 30 years, especially if Williams is taken first overall.
This sets the wheels in motion even before the end of the season, which is good news for a team that needs to evaluate all of their possible options come draft day. Bill Belichick, or whoever may be the general manager come April, cannot mess up this pick.
If Mac Jones is not the guy, then they have to do all that they can to acquire a quarterback who will be. There's no reason to continue being mediocre by dealing with another bridge quarterback or hoping you can fix one of the ones currently rostered. And maybe Maye is the right one to turn the franchise around.
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