Former UNC standout Drake Maye ranked highly amongst 100 best 2024 NFL Draft picks

It’s been three weeks since the 2024 NFL Draft and we’re finally starting to see players settle in with their new teams.

There were expected picks, such as Caleb Williams first overall to the Chicago Bears, then surprises like Michael Penix Jr. taken Top-10.

If you watched the early first round in particular, you know plenty of teams had a hunger for quarterbacks.

One of those teams in dire need of a quarterback was the New England Patriots, who struck out with a combination of 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton, Bailey Zappe and Mac Jones under center. The Pats addressed that need with the third overall pick, selecting 2022 ACC Player and Rookie of the Year Drake Maye from UNC.

Though Maye was one of the best NFL Draft prospects available, ESPN’s Matt Miller graded him the 20th-best selection.

“The Patriots are the opposite of the Bears and Vikings when it comes to the offensive surroundings, but the selection of Maye is still one of the best in the class,” Miller wrote. “At just 21 years old, he has considerable talent as a thrower, mover and leader. And if New England hadn’t drafted him, he very likely still would have been selected in the top six via a trade up or by the Giants grabbing him. Maye has the toughness and poise to lead the Patriots through this rebuild.”

Maye put together quite the collegiate career at North Carolina: throwing for 8,018 yards and 63 touchdowns, then adding 1,209 rushing yards and 16 more scores. The peak of Maye’s collegiate success was the 2022 ACC Championship Game, when Clemson beat the Tar Heels 39-10.

Maye has reliable tight end Hunter Henry at his disposal, but his top wide receiver is…Kendrick Bourne?

Rookie year will be a crucial indicator on whether Maye can live up to his NFL Draft ranking and put together a successful NFL career.

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Story originally appeared on Tarheels Wire