Patriots Land New Franchise QB in Latest ESPN Mock Draft

After this season's quarterback debacle, the New England Patriots are projected to select North Carolina's Drake Maye at the 2023 NFL Draft.
Will UNC QB Drake Maye find himself in a Patriots jersey once April rolls around?
Will UNC QB Drake Maye find himself in a Patriots jersey once April rolls around? / Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots fans can't wait for the 2023 NFL season to end. It's been a long three-plus months thus far and the Patriots have given the fanbase little to cheer about, boasting an abysmal 3-10 record ahead of Week 15's uphill battle against the Kansas City Chiefs.

With how the season has gone, a good chunk of the Pats fanbase has already turned their attention to the 2024 NFL Draft. After all, the event represents a fresh start for the franchise after how dark the post-Tom Brady era has been with quarterbacks Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe unable to lead the team to consistent results.

Fortunately for QB-hungry Patriots fans, ESPN's Matt Miller has the organization addressing their biggest need in his latest 2024 NFL mock draft.

Patriots Mock Draft 2024: Drake Maye

The Patriots are currently projected to hold second overall pick, which Miller has them using on North Carolina QB Drake Maye.

With USC's Caleb Williams likely going first overall to the Chicago Bears (or whoever they trade the No. 1 pick to), New England fans would be happy with Maye as their QB going forward. After all, the duo is consistently ranked well ahead of the other signal-callers in this year's class, emphasizing their franchise-changing potential.

Maye has been extremely productive over the last two seasons with the Tar Heels. The 21-year-old gunslinger has completed 64.9% of passes for 7,929 yards and 62 touchdowns to 16 interceptions across 26 games since the start of the 2022 NCAA college football season. That's without mentioning his remarkable footwork, also rushing for 1,147 yards and 16 TDs on 296 carries during that span.

Maye has also received a ton of recognition for his work over the last two seasons. He was named the 2022 ACC Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and Offensive Player of the Year while finishing 10th in Heisman Trophy voting. He'll likely see similar accolades once the 2023 campaign ends.

Landing Maye would give the Patriots a completely new lease on life. The UNC signal-caller has been praised for his elite arm strength and mobility, making him the perfect prototypical QB for today's NFL. He needs to work on his decision-making if he wants to thrive at the next level, but all the makings are there for him to become someone special.

Hopefully, if Maye does wind up in New England, the Patriots also draft him some weapons. Pats fans were left disappointed earlier this year when the organization waited until Round 6 to draft wideouts Kayshon Boutte and Demario Douglas rather than using an earlier pick on a WR with higher upside.

For those hoping for a high draft pick, there's good news: the rest of New England's schedule is difficult. With upcoming matchups against the Chiefs, Broncos, Bills, and Jets, there's a realistic chance that the Patriots might not win another game.

Hopefully, the potential of landing Maye makes all the pain worth it.

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