July 20, 2024

2024 Rookie Dynasty Impact: Drake Maye

As a long-time Patriots fan, I’ve grown accustomed to underwhelming NFL Drafts. For 20+ years, I’ve hyped myself up to be on the clock, waiting for Bill Belichick (and his dog, Nike) in his Nantucket War Room, just to get the all-so-familiar result: a trade back.

When that pick finally came, something familiar came with it: either a versatile guard/tackle hybrid or a defensive back from Rutgers projected to go on day three. Although I’ll never complain about the Patriot’s success over the past two decades, it sure didn’t make for exciting draft nights.

However, there is a new regime in New England. Experience and wisdom have been exchanged for youth, with first-time head coach Jerod Mayo taking the reigns at just 37 years old. With this shift comes a new franchise QB in Drake Maye, the highest-drafted QB since Drew Bledsoe went first overall in 1993.

After a few painstakingly miserable years of football, the duo of Maye and Mayo should bring hope to New England as they look to rebuild from one of the most historic rises and falls the sport will ever see.

Nike Belichisk, Drake Mayo

 

How Does Drake Maye Impact the Patriots?

Entering the Draft as an early declare, former Tar Heel  Drake Maye wrapped up his two-year (starting) collegiate career with 7,929 passing yards, 62 passing touchdowns (vs. 16 interceptions) while adding 1,147 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground. Although he took a statistical step back in 2023, Maye’s breakout campaign began as a sophomore.

In his sophomore year, Maye posted a top-5 PFF passing grade at age 20 and led his team in rushing yards. This is the type of play that sent him skyrocketing up draft boards and why teams like the Vikings and Giants were battling to move up to the #3 pick.

 

Short Term Outlook

Entering his rookie season at age 22, it feels unlikely for Drake Maye to be New England’s immediate starter. Although we can expect to see him sometime in the season, I believe that there is value in having players sit and learn behind an experienced veteran (cue hometown hero Jacoby Brissett).

Although we have seen this model disappear as of late, the emergence of Jordan Love seems to be swaying the league into appreciating patience once again (ahem… Falcons). Barring any big-time trade for a WR1, I wouldn’t expect more than low-end QB2 returns from Maye this year. This is a rebuilding Patriots team, and if you’re a dynasty contender, this may not be the ideal situation for you.

 

Long Term Outlook

On the other hand, if you have time and patience on your side, Maye could provide great value as a long-term pick. The Patriots currently sit at the top of the league in cap space and are not done putting new talent into their system. New England used their second-round pick on WR Ja’Lynn Polk, and next year’s free agency class is filled with top-end talent like Tee Higgins, Brandon Aiyuk, Stefon Diggs, Keenan Allen, Amari Cooper, and Diontae Johnson.

Patriots Ownership is ready to re-create the winning culture they’ve grown so fond of and do not want to waste any more time getting there. If you are a rebuilding dynasty team, Drake Maye could be an absolute steal at his current value, and I wouldn’t hesitate to re-roll the dice with someone like Aaron Rodgers or Kirk Cousins.

 

Implications for Patriots Skill Players

I don’t think there’s too much hope for any Patriots skill player at this moment, which is completely justified. With top names like Hunter Henry, Kendrick Bourne, and Demario Douglas, there isn’t too much for defenses to fear. With that said, Drake Maye has the potential to elevate the players around him, and this can only be good news for the Patriot skill players, especially younger ones like Douglas or Polk.

 

How High is Drake Maye’s Dynasty Stock?

Here at DynastyPros, we currently have Drake Maye ranked as QB20, three spots below Jayden Daniels, and nestled right into the Bryce Young, Deshaun Watson, and Kirk Cousins range. I’d expect Maye’s value to fluctuate slightly as the season approaches, with variance correlating on if and/or when he gets the starting nod, but this tier feels appropriate until we see him on the field.

Although we haven’t seen him play yet, the analytical folks should be thrilled with Maye as a prospect, crossing off almost every item on our prospect prerequisite list. He was a four-star recruit out of high school, broke out at age 20, was an early declare, and received top-three draft capital. The only thing we don’t like, for fantasy purposes, is his landing spot.

“If you build a QB on Madden, he’d be the prototype you’d build around.” – Darius Butler, via Pat McAfee Broadcast

 

What is Maye’s Rookie Draft Status?

In terms of fantasy, Maye is already projected to be a polarizing pick in rookie drafts. Prospect fatigue seems to have taken over, but it’s important to keep in mind that this is a player who has been highly touted as one of the best QB prospects over the past four years. Here are some quotes via Sports Illustrated from December:

One AFC exec said he believes Caleb Williams and Drake Maye would’ve been the first and second quarterbacks taken in 2022 and 2023, in addition to this year, and they would’ve been the second and third guys to go in 2021, behind only Trevor Lawrence.

An NFC exec went a step further, texting that, based on film, he’d have Williams and Maye “definitely above them all other than Lawrence,” then said he’d go, in order, “Caleb, Trevor, Drake.” An AFC college director added he sees this year’s top two as the “best since Trevor Lawrence.”

To recap, these (anonymous) NFL Execs had Caleb Williams and Drake Maye ranked above Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, Mac Jones, Kenny Pickett, Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson, Will Levis, Hendon Hooker, and yes, Jayden Daniels.

Now, I’m fully aware that some of those names haven’t panned out, but there’s something to be said about being considered one of the top prospects in recent memory. And let’s be honest. You would have been on top of the world if you had taken Lance in your 2021 rookie drafts.

Fast forward to today. Drake Maye was taken third overall by NE, which is fantastic in terms of draft capital but certainly an unappealing landing spot (as is often the case with top-three drafted QBs). What looked to be the surefire 1.02-1.03 pick over the past two years (in super flex) will likely now be available to those drafting anywhere from 1.04-1.08.

For those of you in the “talent > situation” camp, Maye could prove an absolute steal in this year’s rookie drafts, with players like J.J. McCarthy, Michael Penix, and Bo Nix all landing in (arguably) better situations. With that said, there’s also a reason Maye was selected before them.

There is no questioning Maye’s arm strength. However, it’s worth revisiting his rushing ability. Although the dynasty community is salivating over Jayden Daniels upside (and they should be), Maye quietly averaged 573 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground in his two seasons as a starter at UNC. He is a gifted and athletic player, but the question remains: Will he be able to put it all together at the next level?

The floor may be low to start his career, but with player comps like Josh Allen and Justin Herbert, the sky is the limit for Maye. It’s difficult to predict how the new Patriots regime will move forward, but it will be calculated and aggressive, attempting to regain status as a competitor over the next two to three years. Nothing is ever certain in fantasy, but the one thing we do know is:

It’s gonna be Maye.


Check out the rest of our 2024 Rookie Dynasty Impact articles:

[one-half-first]Jayden Daniels[/one-half-first]
[one-half]Xavier Worthy[/one-half]