Nick Caserio knows a thing or two about the New England Patriots’ new director of player personnel. Matt Groh spent almost his entire time with the team working under Caserio, rising up the ranks before being picked as head of the personnel department last month.
On Tuesday, Caserio spoke about Groh during a press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
“Matt, he has a unique background,” the Houston Texans’ general manager said. “My first recollection of Matt was the year Chris Long came out of the draft and at the time, Matt was helping Al [Groh] — Al was at the University of Virginia at the time — so we flew in to work Chris out. In the morning, Matt picked us up from the airport, drove us to the workout. So, that was kind of my first introduction to Matt.
“To make the transitional leap from his legal background, which he obviously had a career and certain aspirations, into football I’d say it’s fairly rare. But he wasn’t opposed to starting — he started in the same role that I started in when I was in New England in 2001 — as a scouting assistant.”
Groh earned a psychology degree at Princeton, where he also played quarterback, and later a law degree from the University of Virginia where his father, Al, was coaching at the time. He later followed his dad’s footsteps and moved to football. In 2011, the Patriots hired him as a scouting assistant.
Over the next decade, Groh moved up the organizational ladder. He was promoted to national scout in 2013, and to area scout two years later. Last season, he was named the Patriots’ college scouting director but held the role only one year: after the departure of Dave Ziegler, Groh was chosen to take over as personnel chief and de facto general manager Bill Belichick’s right-hand man.
Caserio, who held the position himself for 13 years, said that he was excited for the opportunity awaiting Groh.
“Matt’s really smart,” he said on Tuesday. “He works hard. He has a good grasp of players. He has a good understanding of football. He’s been around football for a long time. Whether it was his dad or his brother Mike, he’s been around the game.
“His growth and development is really a credit to his work ethic and his thoughtfulness and his intelligence. I think a lot of people in the building in New England have a lot of confidence in Matt and what he’s capable of doing.”