New England Patriots

Drake Maye lays out goals for rookie season with Patriots

"I look forward to helping the Patriots in any way."

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Drake Maye is ready to get to work after being selected by the New England Patriots with the third overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

The 21-year-old quarterback out of UNC will compete with veteran Jacoby Brissett and third-year signal-caller Bailey Zappe for the starting job this summer. He's one of five QBs on New England's crowded depth chart following the draft, which also saw Tennessee's Joe Milton taken by the Patriots in the sixth round.

Monday on WEEI's Greg Hill Show, Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo said that when it's time to name a Week 1 starter, "the best player will play." Appearing on WEEI later in the day, Maye made it clear he's up for the challenge, but earning the starting role isn't his only goal for his rookie season.

"I think [starting] is obviously the goal for myself and any quarterback coming into the NFL," Maye said on WEEI's Jones and Mego. "But also I just think I want to get in there and learn. Learn from Jacoby [Brissett], learn from the older guys around there and put my best foot forward.

"I think for me, just want to earn the respect from the guys and get to know them first. But obviously, all that stuff on the field will come after that. So I look forward to helping the Patriots in any way. Obviously, it's the goal, but I'm ready for anything that happens.

"I think one of the best things about being a 21-year-old coming in there is, get ready to learn and soak it all in and if I'm the best guy, I think Coach Mayo's kind of said that the best guy's going to play. If it's me, I'm ready to go, if not I'm going to prepare like it and compete and learn as much as I can from the other guys to get ready to do that."

QBs taken with a top-three pick are typically expected to start right away. But with an experienced signal-caller in Brissett, the Patriots should feel comfortable letting their promising rookie watch and learn for a year if he isn't the clear-cut No. 1 in camp.

Maye has the arm, size, and athleticism to be the Patriots' next franchise quarterback. But as former Patriots head coach Bill Belichick pointed out during the draft, the 2022 ACC Player of the Year needs to improve his footwork and ability to read defenses to succeed at the next level. Mayo and the Pats will likely look to iron those issues out before allowing him to start under center.

Until then, it sounds like Maye will approach his first NFL season with the ideal mindset for a rookie QB. And even if he doesn't start until 2025, the Patriots have made it obvious that they're building around their young signal-caller. Six of their seven other 2024 draft picks were used on either pass-catchers or offensive linemen.

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