Going back to two seasons ago, Drake Maye was already a hot name to be one of the top quarterbacks selected whenever he decided to declare for the NFL Draft. After three years in Chapel Hill, the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder now has his sights set on his professional career, starting with the 2024 NFL Draft on April 25.

It really only took two seasons of work playing for the Tar Heels for Maye to get noticed. In that time, he accounted for nearly 8,000 yards worth of passing, 62 touchdown passes, and 16 interceptions. If perhaps not for Caleb Williams' Heisman Trophy-winning season in 2022, and his continued solid play in 2023, Maye might be considered the No. 1 pick in this year's draft. However, it seems clear up to this point that Williams will be headed to Chicago to become a Bear. But where does that leave Maye now?

A lot of scouts and analysts, like Mel Kiper, have the second quarterback off the board being either Maye or LSU's Jayden Daniels, the 2023 college football Heisman Trophy winner. Some even have Maye dropping lower on down the board, falling out of the top three picks, all of which are quarterback-needy teams. Whether that's due to his shaky pro day performance or his lack of experience is unknown, but regardless, it would be shocking to see the former Tar Heel not drafted in the first round.

One team that makes a lot of sense for Maye's future destination is not one of those teams in the top three. That doesn't mean they, being the Denver Broncos, couldn't somehow find their way into that spot, however. Or perhaps Maye does fall into their lap at No. 12. Either way, here's why Maye would be perfect in Denver:

Sean Payton can help develop Drake Maye

The most obvious answer here is that Sean Payton is the head coach of the Denver Broncos. Let's say that the Commanders select Daniels at No. 2, leaving Maye available for the New England Patriots at No. 3. There's a ton of uncertainty with the Patriots right now, who need a massive overhaul in their roster. The lack of talent on that team right now is downright concerning, with more than just a quarterback in need.

If Maye were selected by the Patriots, he'd have no weapons in the backfield or the perimeter at receiver. Moreover, he would be behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league potentially. Even with their draft picks, none of those things are likely to change this season.

Maye would also be going to an unknown, defensive-minded coach with the Patriots. If he were drafted by the Broncos, it would put the young quarterback in the hands of one of the best play-callers in NFL history in Payton.

Even if they had a tense time together, look at what Payton did with Russell Wilson to revive his career last season. Maye, with only two real years of experience at the collegiate level, is going to likely need a lot of development, which is suited for Payton.

Drake Maye could be the Broncos' franchise QB in the tough AFC West

The AFC West has two of the best quarterbacks in the entire league in its division with the Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles Chargers' Justin Herbert, who likewise will have two of the best coaches in Andy Reid and Jim Harbaugh. The Broncos already have a Super Bowl-winning coach; they now just need a quarterback (among a few other things) to be right in the thick of things in the division. Getting Maye could finally be their answer to finding a franchise quarterback that hasn't been there since Peyton Manning. Also, getting him on a rookie deal could allow the Broncos to build around him for the next couple of seasons.

Drake Maye is a necessity for the Broncos

North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) throws a pass against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the first half at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Hyundai Field.
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Last but not least, Drake Maye should be a top priority for the Broncos. Having to eat all of Wilson's contract this year, there's a bit of a sour taste in the mouths of Broncos fans, not to mention probably the Denver front office. The Broncos put up the farm in order to get Wilson, and now they're paying him to go elsewhere. What's worse is that there's nothing left behind from Wilson to make the Broncos close to competitive next season.

On the roster right now are career backups Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci, who have maybe a handful of starts to their name. Getting a quarterback like Maye — whether or not he needs great development or not — should be the top priority for this team.