"I think one of the things that everybody learns when they go in to the Patriots Paradigm, is that there was no on the fence, " Falcons General Manager and former Patriots Director of College Scouting Thomas Dimitroff said. "You had to come in with an opinion. You had to come in with a strong opinion. You had to do your work.
"Coach (Bill) Belichick and Scott (Pioli) at that time, you weren't to just sort of fly under the radar and suggest that someone is replacing or is a backup in the league. You had to truly hone in and compare to the other talent on your football team. You had to be very specific. We talked about it all the time, system-specific. That's more than just for the scheme, but it's also system-specific for the organization."
That dynamic is what makes the Patriots so successful on an annual basis- and why it's so difficult to enter Belichick's inner-sanctum. In order to achieve any degree of trust with Belichick, a scout or director will have to be able approach one of the greatest football minds in the history of the world and consistently be perfect and challenge the status quo.
But every person that has earned Belichick's trust understands the importance of being able to trust those that work alongside them on a daily basis.
"You realize that you can't do it all on your own," Buccaneers General Manager and former Patriots Director of Pro Personnel Jason Licht said. "You have to be able to delegate and you have to hire really great people... the common mistake is that you think you can watch every player and make every decision on your own, but you can't. You have to use all of your resources around you and have a great staff."
In order to delegate, all staff members must be unified in their approach and understand the singular goal and direction of the organization. For the Patriots, they don't care about a person's ability in general terms; they want those that can fit into the organization's structure, whether it's in the front office or on the field.
"New England is a unique place," Titans General Manager and former Patriots Director of College Scouting Jon Robinson said. "It forces you to learn football and it forces you to learn more than just this player can do this. It's he can do this and this is how he is going to fit into our football team."
"Coach Belichick would always talk about, ‘Tell me what the guy can do, don't tell me what he can't do. We'll find a way to put that positive skillset to use in the defense and not ask him to be in a position where he can fail,'" Licht echoed.
"At the Patriots, one of the big things was, well, how do they fit in this scheme? or how do they fit with our team?," Lions General Manager and former Patriots Director of Pro Scouting Bob Quinn said.
New England has never been about creating a collection of talent, but maximizing the talent at hand. Each player needs to know their role and responsibility and earned the trust of those around them. That trust can lead to expanded roles and additional responsibility, but it all starts with the person buying into the system at the start.
"There is nothing more important to a football team [than finding players that have a team-first attitude]," Robinson said. "No one part is greater than the other. In the end, it's about how many wins we have stacked up in that column at the end of the season."
And the same applies to the front office. Every one of these talent evaluators deserves their station due to their hard work and diligence, but it all started with them buying into the Patriots system.