Matt Groh has been through this process before, just not as the New England Patriots’ director of player personnel. A member of the college scouting department from 2011 until earlier this year, Groh has been heavily involved in the Patriots’ draft preparation. Now, however, he is leading the charge as the team’s director of player personnel.
Groh was promoted to the position earlier this year, following the departure of Dave Ziegler to the Las Vegas Raiders. While he has not made any public comments about his new role, New England’s personnel chief recently spoke with the club’s in-house media to talk about the offseason as well as the NFL Scouting Combine currently taking place in Indianapolis.
“I think it means a little bit something different for everybody, depending on what your role is,” Groh said. “There’s some of us here who are going to continue to really drill down on these players. We’ve got pro days to go through and that whole process. The pro guys, working through free agency.”
The Patriots and the rest of the league are working on two fronts at the moment.
One of them is free agency, which is set to be kicked off on March 16. New England has 18 players headed for the open market at the time being, and under $5 million in salary cap space available at the moment. Needless to say that pro personnel department has plenty of work ahead — and so does Groh, who leads the group alongside head coach and de facto general manager Bill Belichick.
The other big topic on the team’s agenda is the pre-draft process. With the Combine underway this week, New England will continue its prospect evaluation through workouts, medical examination and one-on-one interviews.
“It’s not the finish line here for these prospects, but it means we’re getting close,” Groh said. “Really an interesting part of it is for so long in this process, these guys were just jersey numbers out on the field. To be able to go to the combine, speak with these kids, get to know them a little bit more as men, as people, rather than just a number or a skill set or whatnot, is really an enjoyable process.
“It’s just another part of the puzzle. It’s not, ‘Oh my goodness, this guy was terrible at the Combine, we’ve got to just crush him down. Oh, this guy was great, we’ve got to throw him up there on the board.’ We just take all the information and evaluate it, and put it together as part of the puzzle and go from there to try to make the best decisions.”
Groh spent the 2021 season as director of college scouting, and has been deeply involved on this side of player personnel ever since joining the organization in 2011. He will lead the Patriots’ contingent in Indianapolis this week, with Bill Belichick expected to take more of a passive role.
The Scouting Combine runs through March 7, with free agency set to begin nine days later.