Right Before The Patriots Drafted Drake Maye, Bill Belichick Tore The North Carolina QB A New One On Live TV

Drake Maye Bill Belichick

Since Bill Belichick was left out in the cold once the latest NFL head coaching carousel stopped spinning, he decided to hop onto Pat McAfee’s coverage of the 2024 NFL Draft for ESPN. Just like he delivered the goods on NFL Network’s “All-Time Team” a while back, The Hoodie brought the heat with his mostly unfiltered, honest opinions about the best rookie prospects entering the professional ranks.

It just so happened that right before the New England Patriots — that franchise Belichick led to six Super Bowl wins — picked their hopeful long-term heir apparent to Tom Brady in North Carolina’s Drake Maye, the legendary coach had a little saucy, nuanced, and well thought-out take on why he doesn’t necessarily buy him as a surefire franchise quarterback.

Now look, nobody arrives to the NFL as a finished product. So much of a QB’s success is predicated on where he lands.

For instance, I think JJ McCarthy, despite being the fifth QB taken at 10th overall, is going to the best situation of anybody in Minnesota. That’s because the Vikings have an offensive head coach/play-caller in Kevin O’Connell, and premier weapons like Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, Aaron Jones and TJ Hockenson.

Meanwhile, Maye is going to an organization in a full-blown rebuild. Ask yourself how long Patriots fans — accustomed to a certain standard of excellence — will be patient and ride out a mediocre-at-best record with Jacoby Brissett under center?

New England shares the AFC East division with Buffalo, Miami and the Jets. The Bills have perennial MVP candidate Josh Allen at the most important position on the field. Tua Tagovailoa is the triggerman for the Dolphins’ electric, league-leading passing attack, and Gang Green welcomes back Aaron Freaking Rodgers as their starter in 2024.

Talk about a pressure cooker. Whether it’s Brissett’s every move being scrutinized, or Maye being reluctantly thrust into duty amid a probably-awful season for the Patriots as a team, Foxborough feels like the absolute worst landing spot for any of these QB prospects. Maye happened to draw the short straw.

(Well, to be fair, Michael Penix Jr. is in for a hella awkward situation in Atlanta while he waits for an undetermined amount of years behind Kirk Cousins).

But let’s get back to Belichick’s evaluation of Maye. He couldn’t be more spot on, in my humble opinion. I’m not just kissing up to arguably the greatest coach of all-time. Belichick had his flaws as a de facto GM who had final say on personnel. In fact, I believe his excellent coaching bailed him out of a number of bad draft picks. That, and having Brady as his quarterback.

It should also be said, Belichick fostered a good environment for his Brady successor of choice, Mac Jones, only to turn sour on him after Jones led the Pats to the playoffs as a rookie. Now, Mac is backing up Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville.

Maye was my QB5 and ranked 24th on my big board. Erratic footwork and frequently poor pocket presence led to lots of inaccuracy. He was so often compared to Josh Allen — who made an as-of-yet one-of-one leap in improvement once he reached the NFL — and Belichick rightly shot that down.

It’s an insult to Allen. Maye isn’t on his level talent-wise. Very few are! So can we chill with that?

I also heard a lot of Justin Herbert comps for Maye leading up to the draft. Stop it. Just stop. Get some help.

I found it super weird that the best things anyone could say about Maye was that he’s, uh, humble. And he comes from a really athletic family. Youngest of four brothers (cool??).

Like dawg, this was run on NFL Network as a puff piece spot to gas up Maye’s competitiveness…?

What are we doing, y’all? Notice how many question marks are littered throughout this article?

I’m sorry — I got a little nonplussed there!

What else about Drake Maye? Oh right, remember, Maye has a huge arm (who cares where the ball goes though, right!?). One thing I never, ever heard, not once about Maye in the pre-draft process, was, “Oh he’s a genius on the whiteboard!” or “super high football IQ!” You heard that about literally every other top prospect at one time or another. Everyone except Maye. If Belichick says you can’t see the field or read defenses, young man, ya might be in a spot of bother!

That’s not to say I’m writing off Maye’s career as dead on arrival. You’d be a moron not to acknowledge he has the upside to be a franchise QB. Prototypical build. AGAIN: Big arm. Generally accurate on deep passes. And he seemed to have better footwork and so forth with better protection in 2022. I just fear that the Patriots’ current situation is untenable for any incoming rookie, never mind someone like Maye who needs a lot of refinement and development.

Time will tell. Best of luck to Maye, but I’m sure Pats Nation is feeling at least a little uneasy about Belichick’s assessment of their new supposed golden-armed savior.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock