Chances are the New England Patriots will not leave the draft having added Justin Fields or Zach Wilson to their quarterback room. The Ohio State and BYU passers are realistic candidates to come off the board within the first three selections, joining projected number one overall selection Trevor Lawrence.
But just because they might be out of the Patriots’ reach — they will not be able to trade up into the top three spots — does not mean the team will not be keeping a close eye on them throughout the pre-draft process. Quite the opposite, actually: New England is closely scouting them both, and was/will be present at both their Pro Days.
Who is the chosen one to do that? Eliot Wolf.
Wolf joined the Patriots last offseason and served as a scouting consultant throughout the 2020 campaign. Before his arrival in New England, he has held numerous roles around the league: starting his career in the Green Bay Packers’ pro personnel department in 2004, Wolf worked his way up the organization to become director of pro personnel (2012-14), of player personnel (2015), and of football operations (2016-2017).
In 2018, he joined the Cleveland Browns as assistant general manager but was let go again one year later. Following a short stint in Seattle, Wolf finally arrived in New England last March to work in a lower-level role — even though he is a candidate for more responsibilities under presumptive new director of player personnel Dave Ziegler.
One of his current responsibilities, meanwhile, appears to be scouting quarterbacks.
Wolf already was present for Zach Wilson’s Pro Day at BYU last week. Wilson is one of the top-four quarterbacks in this year’s class alongside the aforementioned Fields, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, and as such expected to come off the board early on Day One. The New York Jets, sitting at number two, are projected as the prime candidate to land him.
Justin Fields, on the other hand, will have his Pro Day today. Wolf has traveled to Columbus to attend it, even though — as mentioned above — it seems unlikely he will fall into the Patriots’ range after a highly successful two-year stint as Ohio State’s starting quarterback.
Nonetheless, the Patriots will keep a close eye on both. Not only are they potential targets for the Jets, the draft also remains as unpredictable as ever: beyond Lawrence no pick is set in stone. And with New England having aggressively tackled free agency over the last two weeks, them moving up the board would not be a surprise either.
Lance or Alabama’s Mac Jones might be targeted in such a move. While the former had his own Pro Day two weeks ago — Patriots national scout Matt Groh was among those present for the workout — Jones will showcase his skills in Tuscaloosa today.