Drake Maye

Drake Maye

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Drake Maye

As the 2024 NFL Draft looms closer, the New England Patriots are in a pivotal position with the third overall pick. While much attention has been focused on their potential first-round selection, speculation is brewing regarding their strategy beyond the opening round.

Renowned draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Field Yates recently provided insights into New England’s potential picks beyond the first round in their latest mock draft. Kiper foresees the Patriots addressing their quarterback needs early by selecting Drake Maye with the third overall pick. Describing Maye as an “elite deep-ball thrower,” Kiper believes the North Carolina quarterback could be a cornerstone for the Patriots’ future.

Looking ahead to the second round, Kiper and Yates believe the Patriots could target wide receiver Keon Coleman out of Florida State with the 34th overall pick. Coleman’s playmaking abilities and potential to bolster New England’s receiving corps make him an intriguing prospect.

Yates has the Patriots selecting a familiar weapon of Maye’s in the third round. He predicts the Patriots will double-dip at WR and select Devontez Walker out of North Carolina. With the Patriots striking out in free agency and the trade market for top-tier WRs, Yates and Kiper have the Patriots adding two of their top three picks to their WR room.

Is Drake Maye The Choice at No. 3?

With the top quarterback prospects off the board, Yates and Kiper see the New England Patriots turning their attention to North Carolina’s Drake Maye with the third overall pick in the NFL Draft. As Caleb Williams heads to the Chicago Bears and Jayden Daniels finds his place with the Washington Commanders, the Patriots secure Maye as their future signal-caller.

Many have linked LSU QB Jayden Daniels to the Washington Commanders, who currently hold the No. 2 overall pick. Kiper shared his thoughts on why he sees the top three picks shacking out this way.

“I made the case for the Patriots trading down in my Mock Draft 3.0, but if this is the way the board shakes out, I think they’re more likely to take Maye and secure their franchise quarterback. Of course, they thought they were doing that in 2021, when they drafted Mac Jones in Round 1, and Jones is now the backup in Jacksonville. Evaluating quarterbacks is hard, but I have a top-10 grade on Maye, who is an elite deep-ball thrower”, Kiper wrote.

Getting to Know Keon Coleman

Despite his slip in draft stock due to a slower-than-expected 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine, Keon Coleman remains a compelling prospect for teams needing a wide receiver. Initially projected as a first-round talent, Coleman’s impressive performance at Florida State has kept him in consideration for many teams.

After transferring from Michigan State, Coleman made an impact at Florida State, catching 50 passes for 658 yards and 11 touchdowns throughout 12 games. Standing at 6-3, he provides a valuable target for quarterbacks and has shown versatility by contributing as a punt returner, totaling 300 yards on 25 returns.

Kiper lists Coleman’s ability to make contested catches as why he sees New England as a fit for the big wide receiver. “New England’s depth chart at receiver needs to be beefed up if quarterback Drake Maye — whom I projected to the Patriots at No. 3 — is going to succeed. The Pats ranked 29th in receiving yards by receivers (1,909) last season. Coleman doesn’t have great speed, but he can win contested catches with his 6-3 frame. He had 11 touchdown catches last season, five of which came on fade routes”, Kiper explained.

Getting to Know Devontez Walker

Devontez Walker’s journey to the gridiron spotlight has been marked by adversity and accomplishment. After transferring from Kent State to North Carolina, Walker was embroiled in controversy, facing initial ineligibility for the first four games of the 2023 season due to NCAA rulings. However, his determination prevailed, as the decision was eventually overturned, allowing him to take the field for the Tar Heels.

Once given the opportunity, Walker wasted no time in making an impact. Despite playing in just eight games, he showcased his skills with 41 receptions for 699 yards and seven touchdowns in the 2023 season, averaging an impressive 17.0 yards per catch. This performance underscored his value as a dynamic playmaker in the Tar Heels’ offense.

Walker’s success in North Carolina was preceded by two productive seasons at Kent State, where he demonstrated his ability to contribute consistently on the field. Over 16 games spanning the 2021 and 2022 seasons, he recorded 63 receptions for 1,045 yards and 12 touchdowns, showcasing his versatility and reliability as a receiver.

Field Yields described why he has the Patriots selecting Walker in back-to-back WR selections. “Yes, I already gave Keon Coleman to the Patriots in Round 2. But I’m double-dipping at wide receiver — and setting up Drake Maye with a familiar target in Walker, whose length and speed would help open up this offense,” wrote Yates.


Colin Lynch covers the NFL for Heavy.com, with a focus on the New England Patriots. His sports coverage has been featured on Finixio’s The Sports Daily and Basketball Insiders, as well as FanSided. He is also a former D1 baseball player drafted by the San Diego Padres in 2008. More about Colin Lynch

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