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NFL Draft: Bill Belichick sounds lukewarm on Patriots' pick of Drake Maye

The coach who picked Tom Brady 199th overall was critical of his former team's selection at No. 3

The New England Patriots are in their first NFL Draft without Bill Belichick since 1999. That doesn't mean the legendary coach isn't involved in the process, though.

After parting ways with the Patriots and not finding a new job in the coaching cycle, Belichick joined ESPN's "Pat McAfee Show" to break down each of the first-round draft picks. Including the Patriots' pick at No. 3.

That selection turned out to be North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye, with the Patriots landing a new face of the franchise with their first pick of the post-Belichick era. Maye was widely mocked to the Patriots, who were also thought to be looking for a trade but ended up taking what they believed to be the best quarterback remaining.

Belichick, however, sounded less sold. He didn't outright call Maye a bad quarterback, but he clearly believed his old team had just drafted a project under center rather than someone who can star from Day 1. He also took minor issue with a comparison to Buffalo Bills star Josh Allen:

"Well, I think that's certainly a top need for them. It's quarterback, tackle and wide receiver, so this is one of the top needs. Drake compares himself a lot to Josh Allen, he's been doing that for quite a while. We'll see about that. I think there are some similarities, size and athleticism, but Josh Allen's a pretty special player now.

"A very talented kid. Good size, runs well, has a good arm. He just hasn't played very much. He really doesn't have a lot of experience. He makes some big plays ... He's going to need some work in reading defenses, reading coverages."

You can see his full tape breakdown, with captions including "big play," "quick to come off receivers," "need to stay in the pocket & throw" and "poor throw." He also noted "of all the quarterbacks, [Maye] was the lowest-rated pocket passer."

He also criticized Maye's footwork in a clip before the draft as well during a quick review of all the major quarterback prospects:

"Drake Maye, his footwork needs a lot of work. Here, he's all over the place. Never resets his feet. Never really gets in position to throw. Gets strip-sacked. Too much hopping around. Step up and throw.

Belichick concluded that he believes Maye has talent and "just needs some time and experience."

To be clear, Belichick had criticisms of No. 1 pick Caleb Williams and No. 2 pick Jaylen Daniels as well. He just seemed more concerned about Maye's game translating to the NFL immediately. It will be on new Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo to develop Maye into the quarterback Belichick believes he can be.

Maye started for two years at UNC as a redshirt freshman and sophomore. They were two very good years, though, with a total of 7,929 passing yards, a 64.9% completion rate, 62 passing touchdowns, 16 interceptions, 1,147 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns in 26 games.

N. Carolina logoN. Carolina logo
Drake Maye
QB - UNC
2022 Breakout campaign
4,115
Yds
316.5
Y/G
67.2
Comp Pct
35
TD
160
QBRat

Yahoo Sports' Nate Tice was a little higher on Maye, ranking him as the top prospect on the board and saying he has "more feel in the pocket and creativity to his game than I think he’s gotten credit for."

The other team with an interesting connection to Belichick in this draft was the Atlanta Falcons, who shocked everyone by drafting Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. eighth overall despite signing Kirk Cousins to a four-year, $180 million contract a month ago.

Belichick didn't interview with any team but the Falcons while looking for a new job in this offseason's coaching cycle, so he was left hanging when the team opted to hire Raheem Morris to replace Arthur Smith.

Suffice to say, the Falcons probably don't select Penix if Belichick is running the show, and they almost certainly don't do it with the ninth overall pick:

"They obviously like the kid. This is an example where you probably could have traded back to take Penix. Maybe they thought Denver or somebody else was going to slide in, I don’t know. This seems a little high for him, but there’s a lot to like about Penix. There’s a lot to like about this kid.

"He’s very mature. They talk about the injuries, but he’s been healthy the last two years and he’s won a lot of games on a good football team at Washington. It’s an interesting pick, and look, having two good quarterbacks isn’t a bad thing."

Belichick charitably compared the situation to the Packers' Jordan Love-Aaron Rodgers situation, but even that comparison falls short given that Rodgers was signaling some discontent at the time of the Love selection, whereas the Falcons just signed Cousins. And Love was a 26th overall pick, not eighth.