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Patriots' new QB 'not going to be Tom Brady,' 'just going to try to be Drake Maye'

After all the trade speculation had subsided, the New England Patriots stayed put at No. 3 and selected a quarterback in the first round for the second time since the Tom Brady era's end.

North Carolina's Drake Maye will succeed Mac Jones, a 2021 first-rounder, as the club's hopeful next franchise quarterback.

Not long after he became a Patriot on Thursday night, Maye made it clear he's not looking to be the next Brady, though, he just wants to set his own path.

"Tom Brady's the G.O.A.T.," Maye said in his post-draft news conference, via team transcript. "It's easy to say that. He's the best that ever played this game. I'm not going to be Tom Brady. So, I'm just going to try to be Drake Maye, and from there, I'm just trying to learn from him, hopefully get to know him a little bit. Other than that, just try to soak it up, be a sponge and try to learn all I can from him. He's the man of that town."

While Maye would love to take some time under the Brady learning tree, he also expects to gain plenty of knowledge from veteran quarterback Jacoby Brissett.

Brissett was briefly teammates with Brady in 2016 before he was shipped out of Boston to Indianapolis. Brissett rejoined the Pats this offseason as a likely bridge to their hopeful QB of the future, which is now Maye. Maye knows Brissett a bit already, as the two met through Sam Howell, a teammate of Brissett's on the Washington Commanders last year and a former Tar Heels teammate of Maye's.

"I'm just looking forward to getting to learn from him," Maye said. "I know he's an old guy, old vet, and he can still play. So, I'm looking forward to contributing in any way, I'm looking forward to getting to see him, and I know he's the man."

Who will be the man in Week 1 remains to be seen. Will the Pats throw the rookie out there from the get-go or let Brissett show him the way to start the season?

One of the concerns surrounding Maye was how his production and play waned in 2023 after a breakout 2022 campaign.

In 2022, he completed 66.2% of his passes for 4,321 yards, 38 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

In 2023, he completed 63.3% of his attempts for 3,608 yards, 24 TDs and nine picks.

The talent around Maye decreased in large part from one season to the next, and now he's joining an offense that was simply dreadful last season to the tune of ranking 31st in points scored and 30th in yards. Though the Pats have a new offensive coordinator in Alex Van Pelt, the only real skill position free-agent acquisitions of note have been K.J. Osborn and Antonio Gibson -- hardly eyebrow-raising adds. Thus, it doesn't look on paper to be an ideal situation for a rookie QB. Maye dismissed that theory.

"I think they're wrong," Maye said. "The defense last year held a lot of teams to low points, and I'm looking forward to helping in any way offensively, and just looking forward to be there with coach (Jerod) Mayo in his first year -- congrats to him -- and I don't think anybody's saying that. I think, hopefully, we'll find out this coming season. I'm going to work hard with the guys and prove them wrong."

Maye's fire will certainly be welcomed for an offense that's been frozen in motion over the past two seasons, and he's clearly motivated by proving the doubters incorrect.

Hence, any questions about his struggles being caused by a lack of talent around him, well he's looking to remedy that as well. He sees it as a crucial part of his job to lift those around him.

"I think that's a huge part of being a quarterback," he said. "You're the face of the team. They look to you, and my responsibility is to get to know the guys personally. I think that's the biggest thing: genuine relationships. That's kind of what I feed off of. I get to know the guys truly because you may not be able to handle different guys the same way.

"I think going in there as a top-three pick rookie, I think you kind of -- just stay humble. Worry about my play on the field, winning games and that's what I'm playing the game for. I love football, and I love winning. I think the biggest thing is that I hate losing. I hate losing in anything I do; it doesn't matter what it is."

The Patriots have been searching for a QB to lift them from the offensive doldrums since Brady left after the 2019 season. While Maye isn't aiming to be the next Brady, he's hoping to be the next QB to lead the Patriots back to prominence.

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