Where Drake Maye ranks amongst last 5 No. 3 overall picks in NFL Draft history

Where does Drake Maye rank amongst No. 3 overall picks from the last 5 NFL Drafts?
2024 NFL Draft -Drake Maye
2024 NFL Draft -Drake Maye / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

The New England Patriots got their quarterback with the selection of Drake Maye with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.  With tremendous arm talent and the prototypical size for a QB, can the former North Carolina star become the next face of the franchise for the Patriots?

When he does, if he does, it will come with patience.  The Patriots have made it clear that they aren’t just handing the keys over to Maye right away.  He will need to work on some of his weaknesses like his footwork, adjust to the NFL and compete with veteran QB Jacoby Brissett for QB1 in 2024.  If he shows that he’s ready sooner rather than later then the Patriots will be one of the more intriguing teams in 2024.

In a draft in which Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels was taken ahead of him, Maye’s career will always be compared to those quarterbacks as well as J.J. McCarthy, Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix in a talented QB class that could turn out to be one of the best. 

NFL Draft History: Ranking the No. 3 overall picks in the last 5 NFL Drafts

In looking back at the last 5 NFL drafts, where does Drake Maye rank among the No. 3 overall selections? 

With just 1 other quarterback taken over the last 5 NFL Drafts with the No. 3 overall selection, Maye does have a chance to really stand out if he starts Day 1 in the NFL.

No. 5: Trey Lance, 2021 No. 3 overall pick of the San Francisco 49ers

What Patriots fans hope is that Maye does not follow the same path as Trey Lance who was taken with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.  In fact, the 49ers traded up for the opportunity to take Lance who came out of North Dakota State as a very talented, but raw quarterback.

With his dual-threat ability and size, Lance was projected to eventually flourish under Kyle Shanahan.  During his rookie season, Lance played in just 6 games with 2 games started.  He threw for 603 yards in those 6 games with 5 touchdowns.  The following season he started just two games before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

The 49ers eventually found their quarterback in 2022 seventh-round pick Brock Purdy which made Lance expendable and eventually traded to the Dallas Cowboys.  Given his age, there is still a chance Lance can find his shine in the NFL.  As it stands now, he was a wasted pick that high in the draft. 

No. 4: Jeff Okudah, 2020 No. 3 overall pick of the Detroit Lions

Selected with the No. 3 overall pick by the Detroit Lions, former Ohio State star Jeff Okudah entered the league as the top cornerback entering that draft.

Jeff Okudah selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft
Former Detroit Lions CB Jeff Okudah / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Noted for his talent, draft and explosiveness as the corner position, Okudah had lockdown corner written all over him.  However, it wasn’t a great rookie season for Okudah in Detroit.  Those top-notch skills and physicality didn’t translate to the NFL as quickly as he liked, and suffering injuries didn’t help that transition as he ended up missing the games during his rookie season and most of his sophomore season in the NFL.

Okudah did have a better third season in the NFL combining for 73 tackles and an interception, but he was still far from the lockdown corner prospect the Lions drafted.  He played his 2023 season with the Atlanta Falcons before signing in free agency with the Houston Texans.  Can Okudah get his career on tract playing on a Texans team that looks to be stacked defensively?

No. 3: Drake Maye, 2024 No. 3 overall pick of the New England Patriots

If Drake Maye plays as any point in the season, he should at least be at this spot.  According to Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo, the Patriots rookie QB has a lot to work on, but with his talent and ability to learn the game, Maye should give Patriots fans something to get excited about in the 2024 NFL season.

The Patriots did draft a couple of young wide receivers in Ja’lynn Polk and Javon Baker in hopes of surrounding Maye with as many playmakers as possible, but it will really come down to the offensive line.  If the Patriots can stabilize that line, they could afford to throw Maye in the fire and allow him to learn on the fly.  He has the arm talent and the mobility to make plays, but it will really come down to how he adjusts to the game mentally when faced with adversity and his decision making when faced with pressure.

No. 2: Derek Stingley Jr, 2022 No. 3 overall pick of Houston Texans

It is not what Derek Stingley did in his rookie season that puts him at No. 2 here, but what he did in his sophomore season.

Houston Texans CB Derek Stingley Jr. drafted with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Houston Texans CB Derek Stingley Jr. / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

Selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the grandson of Darryl Stingley entered the draft as one of the top corners in the draft.  With a nice combination of size, speed and explosiveness, the former LSU star showed glimpses of his promise during his rookie season and really had a solid 2023 season with 5 interceptions and emerging as one of the young leaders of that Texans’ defense.

Still just 21 years old, Stingley Jr. is a breakout star candidate for the 2024 NFL season.  If he stays healthy, he can emerge as one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL.  That would make the Texans that much tougher given the next player is also a No. 3 overall pick of the Texans.

 No. 1: Will Anderson, 2023 No. 3 overall pick of the Houston Texans

Taken in the same draft as C.J. Stroud, outstanding defensive end Will Anderson had much impact on defense for the Texans as Stroud did on offense.  It’s been just one season, but Texans fans may look back at the 2023 NFL Draft as a pivotal turning point for the franchise.

Like Stroud on offense, Anderson won the NFL Defensive Rookie of the year award after an impressive debut in the NFL in which he combined for 45 tackles and 7.0 sacks on the season. With the Texans adding a few more playmakers on defense, including pass rush specialist Danielle Hunter, Anderson is just getting started on what should be a very successful career in the NFL.  It will take Maye having a season like Stroud to push Anderson off this No. 1 spot.