Earlier this year, and for the second time in two offseasons, the New England Patriots were forced to find a new director of player personnel. They did not look far, instead promoting the head of their college scouting department to fill the shoes previously worn by Dave Ziegler and Nick Caserio.
Matt Groh will now serve as Bill Belichick’s right-hand man. And while he does lack experience on the pro personnel site of things, Belichick apparently feels very confident in what Groh brings to the Patriots’ front office.
“Matt’s done a tremendous job for us. Very smart, very detailed. Obviously has a great football background with his dad, his family. He’s grown up in football,” the Patriots’ head coach and de facto GM said at the NFL annual meeting in Palm Beach, FL, earlier this week.
“He’s scouted multiple areas for us, has had multiple responsibilities from area scout on the West Coast to the Southeast, regional scout, national scout. He really put the draft together last year as the director of college scouting, and with Dave leaving, I feel like he’s the best person to step into the personnel job. He’s done a great job. He’s as good as anybody that we’ve had in that position.”
After earning a psychology degree at Princeton and a law degree from the University of Virginia — where his father, Al, was coaching at the time — Groh went into the family business. The former college quarterback joined the Patriots as a scouting assistant in 2011, reuniting with a man he had already known for quite some time at that point.
Belichick and Al Groh, after all, coached at the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, Patriots and New York Jets together. Along the way, Belichick and Groh’s sons, Matt and Mike, also crossed paths on occasion.
“When I was in New York, Matt would come over and work out with Al, and sometimes Mike was there,” Belichick said. “He was, obviously, a quarterback, played at Princeton, was at Chaminade. He would come over and throw before and after practice, and sometimes did some drills out there for us. He’s always spent a lot of time around football. It’s impressive. ... I’ve known Matt for a long time. Very much of a football family there.”
Groh quickly moved up the Patriots’ organizational ladder after his arrival. Two years after joining the club, he was promoted to area scout. Two years later, in 2015, he became a national scout. Last offseason, he was named the Patriots’ college scouting director and oversaw a draft that had the Patriots select potential future cornerstones Mac Jones and Christian Barmore.
His work last year seemingly gave Belichick and the Patriots enough confidence in Groh to promote him yet again. And while his job description will likely not be as all-encompassing as Nick Caserio’s was between 2008 and 2020, Groh certainly has the experience needed to make a competent director of player personnel.
At least Bill Belichick seems to think so.