The New England Patriots had one of the best defenses in the NFL this year. Naturally, due to the success of his unit, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia emerged as a possible candidate to fill head coaching vacancies around the league. Had Patricia left New England, linebackers Coach Patrick Graham was seen as his logical successor.
Patricia never left the Patriots and will return as defensive coordinator for at least one more season. The man viewed as his successor, however, will leave Foxboro according to ESPN's Adam Caplan to join the New York Giants:
Giants are expected to add #Patriots LBs coach Patrick Graham as DL coach, source confirmed.
The move comes as a major surprise, as there were no indications that Graham was unhappy with his position and promotion prospects in New England. The 37-year old, who has been with the Patriots since arriving as a coaching assistant in 2009, leaves one of the league's best linebacker corps, headed by Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins, behind.
Possible successors for Graham include current Patriots coaching assistants Steve Belichick and Jerry Schuplinski. Graham is the second coaching assistant to leave New England this offseason after offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo's contract was not extended.
New England also loses one of its front office members. According to ESPN's Michael Rothstein, the Detroit Lions have hired the Patriots' director of player development Kevin Anderson to become their head of football operations and assistant general manager:
The #Lions announce they are hiring another #Patriots employee, Kevin Anderson, to head football ops.
Anderson is the third former member of the Patriots to join New England's former director of pro scouting Bob Quinn, who was named the Lions' general manager on January 8, in Detroit. Quinn has also lured scouting assistant Ron Miles and scout Kyle O'Brien (via Jacksonville) to Michigan.
In 2006, Anderson joined the Patriots as an intern. Over the course of the next ten seasons, he worked his way up to director of player development, a position that now has to be filled again.