The New England Patriots might be thrilled about landing Drake Maye with the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

But the selection was the culmination of ample pre-draft homework, which included genuine interest in other high-end quarterback prospects, as well.

“Just through a lot of film study, a lot of interactions with these guys and their families and the people that are around them, we felt very comfortable (with the top three quarterbacks),” Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo said Monday on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.”

“We knew all along — I think you guys did; hopefully you did — that Caleb (Williams) was going to go (No.) 1 and it came down to really the (Jayden) Daniels, the Drake Mayes of the world (at No. 3). At the end there, we felt pretty comfortable about both of them.”

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Ultimately, the Chicago Bears and Washington Commanders selected Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels, respectively, with the top two picks, paving the way for the Patriots to choose Maye in a franchise-altering decision.

There was speculation before the draft that New England might trade down, a move that would’ve netted the Patriots additional assets at the expense of passing on Maye. Instead, the Pats stayed put, giving the organization a high-upside QB who eventually could stabilize the position for the first time since Tom Brady left in 2020.

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Mayo was asked point-blank Monday whether the Patriots had interest in Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy, another young signal-caller connected to New England before the draft, who ended up with the Minnesota Vikings (10th overall). The first-year head coach confirmed such, while also pointing to Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who shockingly landed with the Atlanta Falcons in Round 1 (eighth overall).

“There was absolutely discussion (about McCarthy). You can throw Penix in there, as well,” Mayo said. “One thing we said when we bring guys in on the 30 visits, we’re not trying to mislead the public, we’re not trying to get cute with who we bring in. We had genuine interest in every player that we brought into the building. Those exposures are very important throughout the evaluation process.”

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Will Maye succeed in New England? Only time will tell. But the importance of this year’s draft class — even beyond Maye — can’t be overstated.

Featured image via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images