Report: Pats ‘not fans’ of Maye, could trade down if Daniels is taken

Report: Pats ‘not fans’ of Maye, could trade down if Daniels is taken originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The New England Patriots reportedly have their sights set on LSU’s Jayden Daniels for the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft and would trade down if he was selected prior, with scouts within the organization saying the team is disinterested in UNC’s Drake Maye, according to Sportskeeda’s draft analyst Tony Pauline.

“I was told at the combine that the New England Patriots would trade back if Jayden Daniels did not drop to their slot,” Pauline wrote. “Just today, I heard further that several scouts from the Patriots organization are not fans of Maye, who really struggled down the stretch of the season.”

Pauline also notes in his report that teams at the NFL Combine were hot and cold on Maye. The 21-year-old saw a noticeable regression between his second and third years at UNC, posting 713 fewer yards and 14 fewer touchdowns with two additional interceptions year over year.

Maye’s 2023 campaign started great for the Tarheels as he led the team to a 6-0 record with 1,902 yards on a 68.9 percent completion rate, 12 TDs, and only four INTs. Regarding Maye’s struggles down the stretch, he ended the year with a 2-4 record, posting just 1,706 yards on a 57.7 percent completion rate, additionally throwing 12 touchdown passes and five picks. Those inconsistencies have made Maye, who has been given player comparisons ranging from Justin Herbert to Mitch Trubisky, a difficult QB prospect to evaluate.

Unlike Maye, Daniels saw nothing but improvement across the board in his senior season at LSU. Throwing for 3,812 yards on a 72.2 percent completion rate, the 2023 Heisman Trophy winner threw for 40 touchdowns to just four interceptions. The dual-threat QB also rushed for 1,134 yards to find the endzone an additional 10 times.

Even just a few weeks ago it was widely believed that Caleb Williams would be the first QB off the draft board with Maye following at No. 2, leaving Daniels to New England at No. 3. Since the combine though, it seems to be a complete tossup between Maye and Daniels.

The Patriots had already been rumored to be interested in trading down, shifting their quarterback focus to free agency. Another report claimed New England wants to draft a rookie QB to play under a league veteran, such as Joe Flacco.

If Daniels isn’t available at the No. 3 spot, the Patriots could look to select a second-tier QB such as Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy or Oregon’s Bo Nixboth of whom met with the team at the combine — to sit on the sideline for a year to learn from a more seasoned pro.

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