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KNIGHT INSIGHT: Local QB guru tells us who Patriots should pick

By Tom King - Staff Writer | Apr 21, 2024

Trevor Knight says that if Drake Maye is there at No. 3, the Patriots should take him, no questions asked. (AP photo)

He trains young quarterbacks for a living, studying it as a science.

Thus, who better than former Nashua South, University of New Hampshire and Canadian Football League quarterback Trevor Knight – now the Dracut (Mass.) High School head football coach – to sort out the quarterback situaiton in the upcoming NFL Draft when it pertains to the New England Patriots?

Knight runs his own QB school, TK QB Academy, and he has broken down the six top quarterbacks in the NFL Draft for the Sunday Telegraph and nashuatelegraph.com.

To give you a bit of a spoiler alert before you read through: He says the Patriots should draft Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels – preferably Maye – and just say no when it comes to Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy.

But here are his thoughts on the quarterbacks, one through six:


“His physical tools are just the best out of all of them,”Knight said, adding the flashy out-of-pocket throws aren’t what makes him the best. “Realistically, he sits in the pocket well, fire from the pocket really, really well. He’ll play within the call at an extremely high rate.

“He’s got an extremely strong arm, he’s accurate, mechanically he’s really smooth. He can be a poster for the perfect throwing mechanics. It doesn’t mean a ton, but it definitely helps. And there’s longevity. He’s not going to have elbow and shoulder problems because he throws very rotationally. I just think he’s a stud.”

Knight says his ability to “make something from nothing” is like Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, “but he’s a little bit more athletic than Mahomes running -wise. Crazy to give a player a comp to Mahomes, I know there’s some on the field/off the field stuff, he’s definitely a weird dude. … We all have our own opinions about it. But at the end of the day, how does that hurt him at playing quarterback? It kind of doesn’t. You can be weird and be a good quarterback. If he wasn’t a good teammate, we would have heard about it. … He’s pretty durable too, doesn’t get injured. I think he’s incredible. … Draft Caleb Williams and reap the benefits for the next 15 years.”

And that’s what the Chicago Bears will most definitely do.

Now we move on to the next two, and Knight has a tie at No. 2 with LSU’s Jayden Daniels and North Carolina’s Drake Maye. A couple of weeks ago, it seemed as if Daniels would go to the Washington Commanders at No. 2 and that would leave Maye to the Patriots. But now there’s plenty of speculation otherwise.

“This one kills me, because I go back and forth,” Knight said. “Both almost have opposite directories. I’ll put them tied at No. 2. I think it depends on what you’re looking for.”


“You look at his whole college career, he was a flashy player,” Knight said. “But he didn’t always produce a whole lot. And then this year produced record-breaking stuff all over. You can look at that a couple of ways: His receivers were so good, etc., or he really found himself as a player and became Jayden Daniels.”

It’s Daniels rushing ability, and Knight compares him, as many others do, to the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson. But there’s a difference.

“He doesn’t get hurt a whole lot, but he is thin and he does take hits,” Knight said. “The thing with Lamar is that he doesn’t take a whole lot of bad hits. Jayden Daniels, he gets blown up. He doesn’t get hurt, but with the NFL, 17 games now, it’s just a little bit sketchy. You’re rolling the dice a little bit.”

But it could be worth it. “He’s a way better passer than Lamar was coming out of college,” Knight said. “His mechanics are pretty good. He’s a smooth guy, good feet. He’s so good at running – but you can’t look at his passing and not be wowed by it. His efficiency, he threw for over a 70 percent completion percentage. That’s pretty impressive.”

But the physical pounding he might take worries Knight. “It’s 17 games, and you’re not playing Arkansas Pine Bluff for one of them,” he said. “Every game (in the NFL) is the best team you’ve ever seen. Half of those games (in college) he was out by the second half. But the thing I like is he played to the swagger. He’s just so fun to watch.”

What about his field vision? “I think it’s great,” Knight said. “He has that Mahomes capability to extend plays and he keeps his eyes downfield.”


Why is Maye tied with McDaniels? “Obviously he’s got great size, his player comp would be Josh Allen,” Knight said. “The thing that stinks was he took a step back, his team wasn’t as good. A lot didn’t go right for him. But he kept coming back, showed the flash and the playmaking ability. You look at Josh Allen and his (college) stats and you’d think he’d never play in the NFL. And now he’s an absolute animal.”

But here’s the thing, Knight says:

“Drake Maye has shown us a lot more than Josh Allen did, He’s very sneaky athletic – that’s an underrated part of his game. He’s got a big arm. I know some people say his pro day wasn’t great. … He couldn’t have been that bad because otherwise we would’ve heard about it.”

The key words: “I think he’s a very safe pick,” Knight said. “He’s a little bit safer than Jayden Daniels. I’d say the upside is similar to Daniels, but he seems a little bit safer – just because he’s shown it. He’s had two really solid years of college football, an outstanding year (in 2023) and a decent year this year with vey little help. No one’s going to complain about a quarterback throwing for 3500 yards in a season.”

As for Maye’s mechanics, Knight says “He’s got great feet, doesn’t waste a lot of movement. He’s pretty efficient. Not to talk too high level, but Josh Allen used to over-rotate a lot, and that’s something Drake Maye doesn’t do already coming into the league.”

Over-rotating, Knight explained is using one’s front foot too much. And now here are the words you’ve been waiting for.

“I think Drake Maye’s the guy,” he said. “I think he’s the clear-cut kind of guy for the Patriots.”

And why here? “The Patriots need to completely change and get a new style of offense,” Knight said. “What they’ve been doing, with Brady, was tons of quick-game stuff. … He could change the entire dynamic of the offense. He’s a guy who could move around and throw from everywhere. He’s five times the quarterback Mac Jones is, in my opinion. He can do anything Mac Jones does but he can do it from any platform. A way better arm, way better ability. … He can be backpedaling but hit something across the field – covered but throws it so accurately that it gets there.”

There you go.


“I think the scary thing about him is he’s had a lot of injuries,” Knight said. “To me it’s typically not a big deal, but quarterbacks are getting hurt more often, and you’re going to invest a high draft pick in a guy who’s missed two to three seasons (with injuries).

“That being said, he’s so accurate. Good feet. My favorite thing about him is every single game it was a tight game, he’d always drive them down(field). Man, he was so fun to watch. He throws field deep outs very well, he makes a lot of NFL throws – all the time.

“So I think his game will translate to the NFL. It’s just is he going to stay healthy. Even this year he was playing banged up near the end. It’s not a knock on him, just luck.”

Penix has a strong arm, and Knight says his mechanics look “funky” only because he’s left-handed.

“If you take a video and invert it, it’s ‘OK, this guy’s smooth’,” Knight said with a chuckle. “And one of his best things is timing and anticipation. When I played in the pros, that’s what separated the best guys from the good guys. This guy can anticipate his throw and throw it early…something he may do better than all of the guys.”

Knight says that Penix was given multiple choices on every play in Washington’s offense. But here’s the key: “He kind of sticks out that if the game’s on the line and you have one drive, which of these quarterbacks do you want leading your team down the field? It’s hard for you to not really consider Michael Penix, because five-plus time this season he did it.

“Definitely I would want to play with him.”

Dracut (Mass.) High head coach Trevor Knight, a South alum and local QB guru, has strong feelings about the QBs in this week’s NFL Draft. (Courtesy photo)



Knight has a tie here because the common theme is this: “I think neither of them are going to be NFL quarterbacks,” he said.

We’ll start with McCarthy, and Knight is not buying into the recent hype and perceived Patriots interest.

“The J.J. McCarthy whole thing (hype) is baffling to me,” he said. “What’s Michigan’s thing been for however many years? They have a great team but they can’t throw the ball. They have no quarterback. How many times did we all watch Michigan on national TV this year? How many times did you watch thinking J.J. McCarthy is a first round quarterback? Not one single play did I think he was going to be a top quarterback in the draft. It’s mind blowing to me.”

Knight thinks he’s “a solid quarterback. But there’s so many studs in this draft at so many positions, and you’re going to take J.J. McCarthy in the first round? Whoever does that, I think they should be fired.”

There you go. Knight says he doesn’t want to bad-mouth McCarthy, and his mechanics are good, but half the passes he threw were short “dump-offs”

“He hasn’t been in the gun just ripping the ball,” Knight said. “We’ve all watched him play. He’s not special. … When the pocket gets a little flustered, you know he’s not making the throw. I feel there’s times in big games he sits in the pocket and tries to force it. Maybe that’s coaching, that’s what they’re telling him to do. He never threw for more than 22 touchdowns in a season. Bo Nix had 45 this year.”

One good thing, Knight said, is that McCarthy doesn’t throw many interceptions.

And what about Bo Nix?

“I like Bo Nix, he’s had five college seasons, but you’d never think he was an NFL quarterback until this season,” Knight said. “He had some insane weapons, but I also think he’s developed a lot, gotten a lot better. He had a very quarterback friendly scheme at Oregon, some of his stats came from bubble screens. … You could see the growth from Auburn to Oregon. But if Oregon would be outmatched, and everything’s covered, he’s not going to make crazy plays like, say, a guy like Drake Maye. He’s kind of a step back from them.”

Knight admits Nix has some physical tools, but his game “doesn’t fully translate.”

Their role in the NFL if at all for these two? “I think Bo Nix and J.J. McCarthy could be decent backups,” Knight said. “But if you’re rolling into an NFL game with one of those guys starting . …”


There’s no one else really, like a diamond in the rough, that’s in this draft, Knight sees. “Jayden Daniels, extremely exciting player, but his thin,” Knight said. “I think Drake Maye will definitely be good, I just home Jayden Daniels is really good.”

There you go, Eliot Wolf, Jerod Mayo, Robert & Jonathan Kraft.

Draft Day should be, if his sitting there at No. 3, Maye Day.


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