Patriots Draft Grade: Is Drake Maye a Legitimate Franchise Quarterback?

Nov 25, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10)
Nov 25, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) / Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots have identified their next franchise quarterback, and it is Drake Maye out of the University of North Carolina.

Maye's arm strength is the main selling point for his game, as he has drawn comparisons to Josh Allen and Justin Herbert. He also possesses good size for an NFL QB at 6'4", 223. In his two seasons as a starter at UNC, Maye completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 7,929 yards and 62 touchdowns. He showcased his athleticism on the ground as well, running the ball for 1,147 yards and 16 scores.

Maye can spin it to all three levels and will be able to get the ball out to anywhere on the field, but sometimes he employs a gunslinger mentality and makes throws into traffic that he shouldn't. That should become better managed as he matures and receives NFL coaching. Maye comes from a phenomenally athletic family background and his athleticism is apparent as he navigates the pocket well and can get the ball out under duress.

One word constantly comes up when scouts and talent evaluators talk about Drake Maye: raw. Maye is still 21 and only started 26 games in college, so there is still a lot of room for growth. Patriots fans will have to exercise some patience, as Maye is a strong candidate for a redshirt year, but New England positioned themselves for this exact scenario when they signed veteran Jacoby Brissett last month. Now, the question becomes how does new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt and senior offensive assistant Ben McAdoo help further Maye's development and mold him?

Maye is far from a polished product, but his immense upside is worth that risk. There is a reason why he has been at the top of the QB prospect rankings for two seasons now. The first pick of the post-Bill Belichick era gets an A.

Grade: A

More New England Patriots NFL Draft coverage: