UNC Football: Drake "Maye" be the starter in New England this fall

Former UNC football quarterback Drake Maye continues to impress Patriots staff and is moving his way up the depth chart.
New England Patriots OTA Offseason Workout
New England Patriots OTA Offseason Workout / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Being a rookie in the NFL is certainly a challenge- but entering your rookie season as a top-3 draft pick in a franchise whose quarterback situation is surrounded by uncertainty presents an even more difficult road ahead.

Mac Jones, who the Patriots drafted with the 15th overall pick in 2021, hoping they had found their next franchise quarterback, was traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars in March. After securing Drake Maye in the 2024 draft, the Patriots have begun a quarterback battle between Maye, veteran Jacoby Brissett, and 2022 draft pick Bailey Zappe.

There's also Maye's fellow 2024 draft pick, Joe Milton III, who was taken in the second round- but he's not necessarily in the fight for the starting position.

While dealing with all of the media hype that comes with being a top draft pick, hearing the criticisms and doubt from fans and division rivals, and expectations placed on him by those who have never played a snap of football, Maye has put his head down and got to work.

The former UNC football star has already made an impression on his coaching staff and teammates in New England this offseason and is receiving praise from those around him.

CLNS media spoke with head coach Jerod Mayo about Maye's performance in practice before the Patriots voluntary OTA's last Tuesday, who said, "He's doing well. He's headed in the right direction."

Mayo's quote seems to hold true, as Maye has recently jumped Zappe on the Patriots depth chart and is now listed as QB2 behind Brissett.

It's merely an expectation that a quarterback drafted so high automatically becomes the starter; it's not always written in stone. While Maye is likely taking the starting position at some point throughout the 2024 season, Mayo and his staff in Foxborough are making him earn it. 

And while Maye works on earning that position, New England offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt is comfortable with Brissett as their number one option. 

"Jacoby, again, is our starter and he's playing excellent football for us in the spring. And Drake is coming on. So until that changes, we're going to stick with what we got."

Van Pelt has described Maye as "impressive" but also stresses that patience is needed with young quarterbacks.

"We always talk about earning your reps around here. So as he [Maye] continues to grow, have successful practices, and start stacking those, then we can think about moving him up the depth chart. We're going to take our time and do it the right way."