The New England Patriots have selected North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye with the No. 3 pick in Thursday’s NFL draft.

Maye becomes the second quarterback taken in the first round by New England since 2021 and will be its latest attempt to find a franchise quarterback following the departure of Tom Brady after the 2019 season. New England traded 2021 first-round pick Mac Jones to Jacksonville earlier this offseason.

At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Maye checks many of the boxes the Patriots were looking for, with ideal arm strength and athleticism. He also will be coming into a situation in which the entire offense will be learning a fresh system under new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt.

The Patriots finished 4-13 and missed the playoffs for the second time in three years last season, leading team owner Robert Kraft deciding to part ways with longtime coach Bill Belichick and hire his former assistant Jerod Mayo.

Maye’s selection also served as the first big decision for director of scouting Eliot Wolf. In addition to coaching, Belichick had been the team’s de factor general manager with the final say in personnel decisions.

For now, Kraft has entrusted that power to Wolf, who will be serving as the lead voice in the Patriots’ draft room throughout the weekend.

Maye will be looking to help the Patriots turn the page on their recent misses at finding a quarterback.

New England brought in 2015 MVP Cam Newton in 2020, but he lasted only one season as the starter before the Patriots drafted Jones the following year.

Jones started strong, earning a Pro Bowl selection as a rookie and seemed like one of the finds of his class.

But he regressed in Year 2 under first-time offensive play-caller Matt Patricia. Jones then struggled again last season after Bill O’Brien returned as coordinator with the Patriots’ offense ranking in the bottom half of the league in multiple categories.

Belichick, serving as an analyst on ESPN's “Pat McAfee Show” broadcast from the draft, said he felt the Patriots filled one of their biggest needs by selecting a quarterback. He also identified offensive tackle and receiver as other top needs.

“Drake compares himself a lot to Josh Allen. He’s been doing that for quite a while. We’ll see about that," Belichick said. "I think there are some similarities in terms of size and athleticism, but Josh Allen’s a pretty special player now.”

He said Maye's footwork in the pocket needed to improve as well.

“A very talented kid. Good size, runs well, has good arm," Belichick said. "Just he hasn’t played very much. He really doesn’t have a lot of experience and he makes some big plays.”


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