Patriots need Drake Maye to win starting role Week 1 in rookie season

Why the Patriots will benefit throwing Drake Maye right into the fire Week 1
Patriots rookie QB Drake Maye
Patriots rookie QB Drake Maye / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

The burning question for the New England Patriots heading into training camp is whether they will stick to their plan and be patient with Drake Maye.  The No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft has all the arm talent and potential in the world, but will the team play it safe and have him learn behind veteran QB Jacoby Brissett?

There are arguments either way, but for a team with a rookie head coach, a poor offensive line and a list of playmakers who don’t scare anyone, some would say the best approach would be to sit Maye his rookie season.  But what if the North Carolina product continues to improve and prove he’s ready now?

That would be the ultimate win for a franchise coming off a 4-13 season, a team that may just be a solid offense away from competing for a playoff spot considering they could field a top 10 defense in 2024.  What if Maye and his arm talent utilizes the skill of Kendrick Bourne, Demario Douglas and second-round pick Ja’lyn Polk?  What if his presence galvanizes the offense?  Well, the Patriots will have no choice and every reason in the world to go with Maye Day 1.

New England Patriots rookie Drake Maye predicted as a starter, but not right away

Then, of course, there is the safe prediction.  Brissett will start off the season and Maye will take over at some point. That’s how CBS Sportswriter Cody Benjamin has it playing out in his four bold predictions for the 2024 Patriots.

Benjamin writes: 

“Veteran Jacoby Brissett is the widespread favorite to open 2024 as the starting quarterback, giving new coach Jerod Mayo a proven hand with experience in offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt's system. Brissett has only played a full season once in his eight-year career, however, and New England has a gauntlet to start the year: at Bengals, vs. Seahawks, at Jets, at 49ers, vs. Dolphins, vs. Texans. At some point during that stretch, the rookie Maye should prove more appealing for his off-script tools, even if Brissett is the "safer" play.”

That is close to what NFL Mocks predicted for Maye in 2024.  In our article, “One bold prediction for Drake Maye in 2024", the Patriots rookie is a starter by Week 4, but that prediction came before his reported improvement at the end of OTAs this spring.  If that trajectory of improvement continues, the intriguing choice is to have Maye start right away because he does have the perfect veteran QB supporting him in Brissett, who happens to know Van Pelt’s system like Benjamin pointed out.

While there are success stories with either approach, if a young QB has the right mindset and approach, they will learn from mistakes on the fly and become much better because of it.  Just look at Payton Manning who didn’t have the best rookie season.  But he had the mental makeup and support around him to grow into his talent.  The same must be true for Maye.

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As a franchise, the team learned from the Mac Jones debacle, but let’s not forget Jones played his own role in his quick decline in New England.  With Maye, the Patriots have something different.  They have a prototypical type QB with a talented arm and above average scrambling skills.  As long as the Patriots don’t have to depend on Maye making plays with his arm and legs right away, they will be fine with him getting the call sooner rather than later.