The dam has been breached. From this point forward, prepare to be flooded by a constant stream of NFL mock drafts.

The first notable one arrived Wednesday morning, with The Athletic’s Dane Brugler — arguably the top draft expert in the game — dropping his inaugural 2024 NFL mock draft. And the results should go over well with Patriots fans, who’ll be pleased to know that Brugler has New England using the third-overall pick to select North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye.

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Brugler also has the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals selecting quarterback Caleb Williams and receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. with the first and second picks, respectively.

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“With their quarterback situation in shambles, the Patriots have a bottom-five offense,” Brugler wrote. “In his 24 years as head coach in New England, Bill Belichick has never drafted in the top five, but this season is certainly trending in that direction. That’s the bad news.

“The good news? This is a great draft for a quarterback-needy team to own an early pick. Maye is a young player and not without his faults, but he has promising talent and more big-time throws on his tape than any other passer in this class.”

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Maye is viewed by many experts as an elite quarterback prospect. Some even like him more than Williams, who’s the consensus top player available in the draft.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Maye went 8-4 in his final season at UNC. He completed 63.3% of his passes for 3,608 yards and 24 touchdowns to go along with nine interceptions. As of Wednesday morning, Maye hadn’t announced whether he planned to play in the Tar Heels’ upcoming bowl game.

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The Patriots, who currently own the third pick in the 2024 draft, clearly need a reset at quarterback. Mac Jones looks like a broken player who needs a fresh start elsewhere.

In order to draft Maye, Williams or Harrison, New England almost certainly will need to finish with a top-three selection. With six games left in the season, the Patriots are in line to finish with a potentially franchise-altering draft pick.

Featured image via Rob Kinnan/USA TODAY Sports Images