Ex-NFL GM Names When Drake Maye Will Start for Patriots

How long will the New England Patriots wait for 2024 NFL draft third-overall pick Drake Maye to become their starting quarterback? One former general manager believes he knows exactly how long it will be before Maye starts ahead of Jacoby Brissett.

Writing for The 33rd Team, ex-Minnesota Vikings GM Jeff Diamond named a home game against the Houston Texans in Week 6 as the moment Maye will become New England’s QB1.

Diamond, who also served as team president for the Tennessee Titans, believes a rough opening schedule will force the Patriots to turn to Maye maybe sooner than they’d like: “The Patriots have a rough first six weeks with matchups against three 2023 playoff teams and three other expected playoff contenders, plus three of the first four are on the road (at Cincinnati, home vs. Seattle, at Jets, at San Francisco before home games vs. Miami and Houston).”

Those games are likely to leave a rebuilding Pats squad mired in losing early in the season. The negative record will increase the incentive for first-year head coach Jerod Mayo to elevate Maye: “Brissett gets the nod early, but after a likely 1-4 or 0-5 start, the switch is made to Maye so he can accelerate his development by getting regular-season experience.”

Drake Maye Promotion is Inevitable

As Diamond pointed out, “Brissett is expected to start training camp as the starter after signing a one-year, $8 million contract.” It’s a prediction shared by Chad Graff of The Athletic, who thinks “Brissett is clearly the starter entering camp. It seems like it would take an outstanding training camp performance for Maye to overtake him to become the starter in Week 1.”

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Going with Brissett makes some sense since few signal-callers are as battle-tested as the 31-year-old journeyman backup. Brissett can take his lumps and stay professional, but early struggles and punishment could break a rookie’s will. Especially a first-year passer as raw as Maye.

He made a mere “26 starts in two years at North Carolina,” per Diamond. The latter noted Maye “was productive, recording 8,018 passing yards, 63 touchdowns against 16 picks, 1,209 rushing years, and 16 touchdowns on the ground”

Those numbers make it inevitable Maye will start sooner rather than later. His arm talent and ability to make plays off script are qualities the Patriots have been sorely lacking since Tom Brady joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020.

Maye gave a few examples of his playmaking skills during offseason workouts. Those examples included this completion to wide receiver Kawaan Baker, highlighted by Pro Football Network’s Dakota Randall.

Drake Maye to Kawaan Baker pic.twitter.com/62H1LYX96z

— Dakota Randall (@DakRandall) June 12, 2024

The Patriots know what they’ve got in Maye. Namely, an intriguing passer with plenty of upside.

Timing his promotion right will be crucial to aiding Maye’s development in the pros. Waiting is smart because it will give Mayo and his assistants time to tweak the supporting cast around football’s most important position.

Patriots Need Right Supporting Cast Around QB

Creating the right situation for a rookie QB to thrive is a balancing act. The dangers of getting it wrong are considerable.

Former Patriots Super Bowl winner Chris Hogan explained as much to The Boston Globe’s Christopher Price during an edition of “The Patriots Report.” Hogan, who helped the Patriots win the 2017 and 2019 Super Bowls, told Price, “You’ve got to be careful with it, you don’t want to throw a rookie into a bad situation and then set him up for failure. We’ve seen it time and time again for guys that just like, it just ruins their career, and it just ruins their confidence.”

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How many games will Drake Maye play this season?@BleavNetwork | @BetOnline_ag

Full episode here: https://t.co/vNPAVg9DJr pic.twitter.com/vdxhT3nzlb

— Christopher Price (@cpriceglobe) June 20, 2024

Maye will “grow” if he has the right supporting cast. Naturally, a team that went 4-11 a year ago is still in the process of putting the right pieces in place.

The process starts up front, where guard Sidy Sow is already building a rapport with a possible steal on the left side of the offensive line. Better protection is paramount, but Maye will also need quality targets to aim for in the passing game.

Fortunately, the Patriots drafted a potential niche playmaker in the second round. This player can join second-year wide receiver DeMario Douglas, along with running backs Rhamondre Stevenson and Antonio Gibson, to form a solid nucleus around Maye.

Ultimately, the Patriots need to know if their considerable investment in Maye can be justified. They can’t rush to find the answer, but at the same time, Mayo and de facto general manager Eliot Wolf won’t want to wait too long to get the intended future of the franchise started.

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