New England Patriots

Patriots minicamp observations: Drake Maye's improvement ‘significant'

The rookie quarterback ended minicamp on a high note Wednesday.

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Drake Maye still has plenty of work to do this summer. But at the very least, the New England Patriots' rookie quarterback appears to be on the right path.

The Patriots wrapped up their mandatory minicamp Wednesday with a practice session outside Gillette Stadium. While minicamp originally was scheduled for three days (June 10-12), the team canceled its on-field session Tuesday to hold a "Community Day" in which players attended various community service events.

Wednesday's session was the Patriots' last organized practice before training camp in late July, and by most accounts, Maye made the most of it.

Here's everything you need to know about Maye's performance and other notable takeaways from Wednesday's minicamp practice, based on observations from our Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry:


Wide receivers Tyquan Thornton and Kendrick Bourne were the notable absences Wednesday. Here's a full list of players missing from practice, per Doug Kyed of the Boston Herald.

  • Tyquan Thornton, WR
  • Kendrick Bourne, WR
  • Sione Takitaki, LB
  • Jahlani Tavai, LB
  • Jake Andrews, OL
  • Cole Strange, OL
  • Tyrone Wheatley Jr.

The following players were present for Wednesday's session but limited: defensive lineman Davon Godchaux, cornerback Marcus Jones, rookie wide receiver Javon Baker, outside linebacker Josh Uche and cornerback Jonathan Jones.

Rookie duo involved in controversial TD

The Patriots' final practice ended with a bit of drama.

On the last snap of an 11-on-11 red zone session, rookie wide receiver Ja'Lynn Polk elevated to snag a pass from Maye in the end zone for an apparent touchdown. But there was some debate over whether Polk was in bounds.

"One ref rules it a score immediately," Perry observed. "Refs get together. Entire offense surrounds them. Score confirmed. Defense is pissed, has to do push-ups."

Cornerback Jonathan Jones wasn't at all pleased by the officials' ruling...

... While Polk unsurprisingly had a different interpretation of events.

Drake Maye showing 'significant' improvement

If you ask Curran, Maye has made noticeable positive strides since he took the field for rookie minicamp in late May.

"Two brilliant TD throws on consecutive red zone 11-on-11 series from Drake Maye," Curran wrote of Maye's performance Wednesday. "First to Kayshon Boutte. The second to a diving Ja’Lynn Polk.

"Improvement has been significant since we saw him at the start of rookie minicamp."

Maye has gone through expected growing pains, including an up-and-down day at OTAs last week. It still wouldn't be surprising if he begins the season on the bench behind veteran QB Jacoby Brissett.

The 21-year-old appears to be picking things up quickly, however: Curran and Perry noted Maye had his "best day" of practice on Monday, then followed that up with another strong showing Wednesday.

The question now is whether Maye can carry that momentum into training camp and the preseason. To that end, it sounds like he'll remain in the New England area to work out with some of his fellow rookies.

A new position for rookie lineman?

Offensive guard Layden Robinson, the Patriots' No. 103 overall pick (fourth-round) in the 2024 NFL Draft, spent time snapping the ball to Maye at Wednesday's practice, per Perry.

"Viewed in some league circles as a guard-only player prior to the draft, he may be trying to see if he can develop a little versatility," Perry wrote of Robinson.

Robinson might be thinking long-term, as well: New England's current starting center, the 31-year-old David Andrews, briefly contemplated his playing future before returning for a 10th Patriots season.

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Thinned-out wide receiver group

Bourne and Thornton both missed Wednesday's minicamp session, and according to Perry, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster appears to be limited physically as well.

Boutte had a strong day by many accounts, but his status for the 2024 season is still unclear after he was arrested on illegal sports betting charges in January. Wide receiver was a significant weak spot for the Patriots last season, and barring any major additions this summer, it won't necessarily be a position of strength in 2024, either.

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