A pair of moves the Patriots made — and a few they didn’t — at the turn of the new NFL year offered a pretty good idea of what New England plans to do with its highest draft pick in decades.

The Patriots officially ended the Mac Jones experiment when they traded the 2021 first-round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Instead of making a strong push for a legitimate starting signal-caller in free agency, New England decided to reunite with Jacoby Brissett, a journeyman who’s in line to be a bridge starter with the team at best.

So, all signs point to the Patriots going quarterback at No. 3 next month. But Field Yates believes the same goes for the Chicago Bears and the Washington Commanders, and the ESPN insider thinks they will roll with Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. Thus, Yates sees New England taking the presumed best signal-caller available: Drake Maye.

“There is no consolation prize among the three top quarterbacks in this class. They are all really good,” Yates wrote in a column published Thursday morning. “And if I were in the Patriots’ draft room, I’d be banging the table to just take whomever — Williams, Daniels or Maye — is available at No. 3. But Maye has immense upside with his terrific arm, idyllic 6-foot-4 stature and dual-threat ability. He has 62 passing TDs and 16 rushing TDs over the past two seasons.”

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Patriots fans might not be thrilled with that projection. Chris Simms believes Maye is more of a “talented project” than a franchise starter, while Dan Orlovsky thinks the North Carolina product needs to sit for a while before he tops a depth chart.

How Maye actually fares in the NFL is anyone’s guess. But Yates’ projection — and the developments that inspired it — should encourage Patriots fans, as it doesn’t sound like New England will overcomplicate things when it goes on the clock in Detroit.

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