Top QB prospect being labeled "redshirt candidate" is bad news for Patriots

Aug 29, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo watches the
Aug 29, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo watches the / Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

We are less than two weeks from the start of the 2024 NFL Draft, where the focus will be on who the Commanders and Patriots will take with the back-to-back, top-of-the-board picks. The Bears, who traded Justin Fields earlier this offseason, will presumedly select quarterback Caleb Williams as the first overall pick.

So that leaves Washington as the true dictator of the rest of the board, mainly the fate of New England who also need a quarterback to officially start their rebuild.

For most of the offseason, Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye have been the favorites to be the next names called after Chicago, but J.J. McCarthy has recently risen in the rankings, entering the fold as a potential wildcard to be the second quarterback called.

There has been speculation that the Patriots have a strong interest in the Michigan alum, with Eliot Wolf reportedly leading the charge. Other rumors suggest their preference to be Daniels or Maye, wildly different prospects who could dictate the future of the organization.

With any prospect, there are positives and negatives about their projections. The problem for the Patriots, though, is fans and even owner Robert Kraft are growing impatient.

The two decades of unimaginable success under Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have made New England accustomed to taking home Lombardi trophies, so the lack of any success since the 2020 season has many demanding a complete turnaround as soon as next season.

That could be easy if the draft is done right. However, one of the leading candidates to become their next quarterback just received a potentially unflattering assessment that could ultimately change the Patriots' decision once on the clock.

NFL executives and scouts believe Drake Maye is the top QB candidate for a redshirt rookie season

Because the Patriots are seriously considering selecting their quarterback of the future and the pressure to become a competitive team as soon as possible is steep, they must pick the right guy for the job to avoid a Mac Jones situation again.

Unfortunately, one of the players they have their eye on, Drake Maye, might not be ready to do that in 2024.

According to a report by Ben Standig of The Athletic, who spoke to nearly two dozen different NFL staffers from former executives, an ex-head coach, GMs, personnel executives, etc., Maye was labeled as the quarterback most needing a redshirt rookie season.

“The panel cited Maye as the quarterback in most need of a redshirt NFL season. That’s logical for a player who turns 22 in August. However, the assessment also shows a lack of clarity about the future.”

It's not a complete shock to hear that a rookie quarterback might not be 100% ready to take over a team as soon as he's drafted. But in the case of the Patriots, that's probably not what they're looking for, as they likely want to draft a player who can suit up and lead their offense as soon as this fall.

This assessment is surprising because it goes against all the hype Maye has received over the last few months. Besides Williams, some analysts have considered him the most "pro-ready" of the other quarterbacks, with some even suggesting he could be the best prospect of the entire class.

Of course, it's all subjective, and it doesn't mean he couldn't be the right guy. However, it's a bit concerning for a team in the Patriots' position, who need a quarterback now and would prefer he didn't need a year or more to develop into the guy they need him to be.

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