North Carolina Tar Heels offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey believes Eliot Wolf’s assessment of Drake Maye to be dead on.

Wolf and the New England Patriots fell in love with how Maye elevated his teammates at Chapel Hill. It was one of the first things Wolf said after the Patriots selected Maye with the third overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

“Not to take anything away from anyone else in the program, but the game was on his shoulders for them,” Wolf said on draft night. “They have some talented players, talented running backs and receivers, but he really was able to elevate them and make them into what they could be.”

Lindsey agreed Maye didn’t have the advantages other top quarterback prospects did. Maye didn’t have first-round receivers to throw to. He didn’t have highly-regarded offensive linemen blocking for him either.

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“He did a great job of making everybody play their best,” Lindsey said. “Everybody elevated their game when he played.”

Maye’s ability to elevate teammates is among the biggest reasons Lindsey believes he will transition well to the NFL, and specifically to the Patriots.

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But it’s far from the only reason.

Lindsey effusively praised the 21-year-old quarterback when he spoke to New England-based reporters shortly after the draft. Lindsey recalled the first time he met Maye, and the humility the kid with the southern drawl showed. Coming off a season in which Maye was named ACC Player of the Year, he told Lindsey he wanted to be coached hard.

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“Sometimes you don’t find that with these big-time players,” said Lindsey, who left Central Florida for North Carolina before the 2023 campaign.

Lindsey, as so many others did in a feature story for, told stories about Maye’s assassin-like competitiveness. He also recalled how Maye handled football adversity at North Carolina, and specifically pointed to the Tar Heels wins over the rival Duke Blue Devils when Maye was behind center. Those intangibles clearly played a pivotal role in Maye’s journey to New England.

But they aren’t alone either.

A coaching veteran of 26 seasons, Lindsey pushed back at a handful of pre-draft narratives pertaining to Maye. Chief among them was in regards to Maye’s footwork, which Lindsey does not view as a difficult change or time-consuming adjustment. Of note, Patriots offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt and the group have put an emphasis into footwork during rookie minicamp and first OTA sessions.

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Lindsey also strongly disagreed with those who believe Maye took a step back in his final collegiate season. Instead, Lindsey explained Maye’s lesser statistics as a product of a change in offensive philosophy. Lindsey entered North Carolina with the plan to make more of an effort to run the ball, and Maye’s numbers were a reflection of the offense, not lesser individual play.

That offense, Lindsey said, was more of a pro-style than past seasons in Chapel Hill. Lindsey pointed to how the Tar Heels used more seven-man protections and 12 personnel than previous campaigns. He estimated Maye took about 20% of snaps under center. Maye also was solely responsible for setting offensive line protections, an area Lindsey said he was “elite.”

“He’s as good as I’ve ever had,” Lindsey said. “I don’t think that’s going to be a very tough transition for him.”

I don’t think that’s going to be a very tough transition for him.

UNC offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey on Drake Maye

Those pro-style traits exposed Maye to how it will be at the next level, Lindsey said. They’re some of the biggest on-field reasons for his confidence in Maye.

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Arguably Maye’s biggest strength, though, is his ability to make off-schedule plays. It roots back to Maye making those around him better.

“I think Drake’s gonna transition really well,” Lindsey said. “He’s extremely competitive and really, really smart. Football IQ is off the charts. He’s got everything you want. He’s got all the intangibles and he’s talented. Anytime you have that combination you’re gonna have a really good player, and I think he’ll adapt really well.

“I’m sure there’ll be some transition naturally, but he’s wired the right way and he’s wired for this transition,” Lindsey continued. “I really believe that.”

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Safe to say that’s an assessment Wolf will agree with, as well.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images