Why Pats should want Drake Maye as their next franchise QB originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
If the ship has indeed sailed for Mac Jones in New England, it's time for the Patriots to plan their next move at the quarterback position.
With a 2-8 record entering their Week 11 bye, they currently own the third overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. If they stay in the top three, they'll have a chance to select one of the premier QB prospects as their next franchise signal-caller.
So, who are the top options? And of those premier talents, which would be the best fit for New England?
Mike Renner, an NFL Draft analyst for The Messenger, joined Phil Perry on the latest Next Pats Podcast to share who he believes the Patriots should target in next year's draft.
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"I have North Carolina's Drake Maye as the No. 1 quarterback in this draft class," Renner said. "I'm also of the opinion that pick No. 1 and pick No. 2 are lottery tickets in this class. Drake Maye and Caleb Williams from USC are elite, top-end, Joe Burrow-esque, Trevor Lawrence-esque guys that if they missed in the NFL, it would be wildly surprising with how good their tape is at the collegiate level.
"I have Maye ahead of Williams because of his translatability and how comfortable I feel with him projecting to the next level. You see so many throws on tape over the middle of the football field, layering the football, beating zone coverage in that area. Has the arm talent, has the mobility, pretty much ticks every single box you could want at the quarterback position."
You'll find Williams' name atop most rankings of QBs in the 2024 draft class, so Renner finds himself in the minority with Maye as his No. 1. As great as Williams' potential may be, Renner sees Maye as the safer option of the two.
"Caleb Williams at No. 2 is no slouch himself. He may be one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks of all time in what he can do from a running perspective, arm talent perspective," Renner said. "It's just, in that USC offense, how he plays the game, you have some questions about how he may translate some of those things from USC to the NFL. ...
"Maye, you've seen him behind a bad offensive line. You've seen him have to come from behind and lead fourth-quarter drives and do it consistently there at UNC. You just see the creativity and the playmaking ability that it takes to be a franchise quarterback. You just feel safer with Drake Maye, or at least I do."
For now, it's uncertain who the Patriots will have under center when they visit the lowly New York Giants in Week 12. Although some, like ex-Pats cornerback Jason McCourty, believe Jones shouldn't touch the field at MetLife Stadium, the third-year QB took the first reps with the starting offense over Bailey Zappe and Will Grier at Wednesday's practice.
Also in the episode:
The case for and against playing Mac Jones.
How Bill Belichick should manage who plays the rest of the season.
Renner ranks available QBs in the draft.
Assessing the talent after the top two picks.
What if you DON’T draft a QB at No. 3?