Drake Maye believes he can ‘fit right in’ New England after No. 3 overall draft pick

When Drake Maye walked into Gillette Stadium for the first time in his life after being picked No. 3 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft, he brought his three best friends with him in the form of his three older brothers.

Luke Maye is the oldest who played basketball at North Carolina from 2015-19 and currently plays basketball overseas in Japan; Cole Maye played baseball at Florida and was part of the Gators’ national championship-winning team in 2017; and Beau Maye was a walk-on part of the North Carolina men’s basketball team in 2022-23. They come from a family full of Tar Heel blue, as father Mark Maye played football in 1983-88 and mother Aimee Maye attended North Carolina.

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When asked if he has any bragging rights over his three older brothers, Drake Maye doesn’t think he does just yet.

“I think in the Maye family, championships kind of rules over anything so maybe until I get one of those,” Drake Maye said. “They got two national champions over there so I think that still trumps being a first-round draft choice.”

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When it comes to championships, the Patriots know a thing or two about them.

New England is tied alongside Pittsburgh with an NFL record six Super Bowl victories, and all six were under quarterback Tom Brady.

Drake Maye said he has his sights on jersey No. 10 rather than Brady’s No. 12. They’ll get a chance to meet one another soon, and that could come June 12 when Brady is enshrined into the Patriots Hall of Fame. Drake Maye said Brady is the “G.O.A.T.” and that he hopes to learn as much as he can from him.

“I think any quarterback’s got to be a Tom Brady fan,” Drake Maye said. “And I think they’re already talking about June 12 is going to be sold out for Tom and the celebration for him, so just, it will be an honor to get to meet him, to get to pick his brain. And you know, one of the greats to ever do it so it’d just be an awesome moment to get to meet him. And like I said, just be a sponge, soak it all in.”

Drake Maye is New England’s first draft choice since parting ways with former head coach Bill Belichick. College football wasn’t the only form of football to see legendary coaches step aside from their longtime posts, as Belichick departed the Patriots after 24 seasons in the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks moved on from former USC head coach Pete Carroll after 14 years, while in college Nick Saban retired after 17 years at Alabama.

The Patriots named former first round pick from Tennessee and defensive lineman Jerod Mayo as their next head coach in January. Mayo was a member of New England’s Super Bowl XLIX-winning team in 2014, a captain for seven-straight seasons from 2009-15 and he played his entire eight-year career with the Patriots.

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Drake Maye said Mayo is “a player’s coach,” and he could tell “right away” how the Patriots drew toward Mayo upon his taking of New England’s head coaching position. Drake Maye also said he sees parallels between the Patriots and North Carolina where both are “family-type” teams, and he believes Mayo can continue the Patriots’ winning traditions that make them the organization that they are today.

“It’s still a family-oriented organization,” Drake Maye said. “That means a lot to me, and I think every time I’ve seen coach Mayo he’s been in a workout outfit just putting in work. He’s still getting it in so just excited to play for him. Like I said, player’s coach, and understands it, know what it’s like playing as a Patriot, and I think that’s something that you just can’t buy nowadays being in his position.”

Mayo’s new quarterback said he’s “got to do my part before I get on other people’s part” and assume New England’s starting role. Drake Maye said he’s hopeful to be the starter down the line, and “a leader” at the same time.

As a Tar Heel, Drake Maye made the Second-Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference team or better in each of his two seasons as starter, and he threw for 8,018 yards and 63 touchdowns to 16 interceptions in 30 games. The Huntersville, North Carolina, native was named ACC Player of the Year as a redshirt freshman in 2022 while breaking the single-season school records with 4,321 passing yards and 342 completions in 517 attempts.

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Drake Maye said he hopes to show New England that he’s “a grinder” and prove to his teammates and others that he’s someone “who’s going to put the work in.” After a decorated career at North Carolina, Maye will look to make the jump to the NFL within a historic franchise.

“I think the one thing I’m looking forward to show the Patriots organization (is) just that I love football,” Drake Maye said. “This sport, you know, I don’t do anything else besides winning and hate losing. I think me and my brothers, we did that growing up no matter anything. Keeping score, just didn’t want to lose and have the bragging rights. So I’m looking forward to showing that and I think I fit right in in this organization.”