Choose Your Patriots QB: Could Drake Maye be the next Justin Herbert? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Editor's Note: The New England Patriots have a franchise-altering decision to make at quarterback this offseason. As part of our "Choose Your Patriots QB" series, we'll highlight five different paths the team can take at QB in 2024, laying out the pros and cons of each choice.
Today's scenario involves New England selecting UNC quarterback Drake Maye with the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
The Commanders own the No. 2 pick in the 2024 draft, one slot ahead of the Patriots at No. 3. All signs point to Washington selecting a QB at No. 2 after Sam Howell's disappointing play late in the season, and UNC's Drake Maye has been the second QB off the board in several mock drafts.
But the Commanders could be enamored by Heisman Trophy winner and LSU product Jayden Daniels instead; in fact, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and our Phil Perry both had Daniels going to Washington in recent mock drafts.
So, if the Commanders draft the dynamic Daniels at No. 2, should the Patriots snag Maye at No. 3? Or should they consider other paths like drafting stud Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. or trading down from No. 3 for additional draft assets?
Let's list some of the pros and cons of the Patriots drafting Maye, as spotlighted in the video player above:
Cons of drafting Drake Maye
Risky decisions: If there's one knock on Maye, it's that he can get burned for trying to force the issue. Maye threw nine interceptions last season (compared to Daniels' four and Williams' five) and had 16 picks over his final two seasons at UNC.
Age/inexperience: Maye is the youngest of the three QBs at 21 years old and was a starter at UNC for just two seasons. Youth means upside, but it also might mean more growing pains as Maye adjusts to the speed and physicality of the NFL.
Performance against elite teams: Maye played just six games against AP Top 25 opponents in his college career, well behind Williams and Daniels (14 each). He completed just 58.6 percent of his passes in those contests, so he hasn't had a ton of success against top college competition.
Pros of drafting Drake Maye
Prototypical build: At 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, Maye is built like an NFL quarterback. He has a very strong arm and above-average athleticism, which has earned him comparisons to Los Angeles Chargers Pro Bowler Justin Herbert.
Durability: Maye's sturdy frame should make him less susceptible to injury than the slimmer Daniels. And as SumerSports' Eric Eager recently pointed out, bigger QBs are usually better-equipped to thrive in cold weather and adverse conditions, which Maye would see plenty of in New England.
More cap space: Addressing the QB position via the draft would allow the Patriots to spend more free agency dollars on premium positions like wide receiver and offensive tackle, instead of paying up for a higher-priced QB in free agency.
What's your take?
Should the Patriots draft Maye at No. 3 or choose from one of four other QB paths? Cast your vote in the poll below or by visiting our Patriots Vote page:
Daniels might boast higher upside than Maye, but if the UNC product is on the board at No. 3, the Patriots shouldn't hesitate to take him.
Maye's sturdy build and strong arm give him a high floor, and he projects as at least a solid NFL starter with Pro Bowl upside. Drafting Maye at No. 3 would give New England a potential franchise QB for years to come and allow the team address its wide receiver and offensive tackle needs in free agency and/or later in the draft.
The hope is that the Patriots won't be drafting in the top five going forward, so they have to use this opportunity to take a "lottery ticket" on either Maye or Daniels.