For the second offseason in a row, the New England Patriots’ front office has seen some major changes. After losing directors of player personnel Nick Caserio and Dave Ziegler in back-to-back years, the team has now turned the keys to the personnel department over to Matt Groh.
A former member of the college scouting department, Groh will be serving as Bill Belichick’s right-hand man in all things personnel decisions. He naturally will also continue to play a sizable role in the draft preparation, and together with Belichick and some other members of New England’s front office make the decisions during the three-day event (plus subsequent rookie free agency) set to begin next week.
Belichick and Groh are not the only ones to be heavily involved in this process. So, with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the men who will be running the team’s 2022 draft — starting, of course, with the head honcho himself.
Bill Belichick: The man that needs no introduction. The Patriots’ head coach and de facto general manager is the central figure at the heart of everything the team does, and has final say over every decision made. Trades, draft picks, you name it, Belichick has his hands all over all of them. There have been questions in the past about his reception to ideas coming from the scouting department, but last year’s collaborative approach yielded plenty of positive results. The ever-reflective Belichick will likely stay that course.
Matt Groh: Groh was named the Patriots’ new director of player personnel earlier this offseason, but he is a scout at heart. Joining the team as a scouting assistant in 2011, he was promoted to area scout (2013) and later national scout (2015). He was named college scouting director last offseason, and oversaw a draft that had the Patriots select potential future cornerstones Mac Jones and Christian Barmore. Despite his new all-encompassing role in the personnel department, Groh is still heavily involved in the college scouting process.
Camren Williams: The son of former Patriots defensive end Brent Williams is quickly rising through the ranks. Williams first joined the team in February 2016 as a scouting assistant and in 2018 was promoted to area scout. After three years at the job he became a national scout, but just one year later received another promotion: Williams is now the team’s college scouting director and as such the highest ranked member of the department.
Eliot Wolf: Wolf arrived in New England in March of 2020, and has played a prominent role in the team’s scouting department ever since. Officially listed as a scouting consultant in his first two years with the team, his role saw him work both on the pro personnel side — he has plenty of experience in that department — but also represent the team on the college scouting trail. Earlier this year, Wolf was promoted to director of scouting to essentially oversee both areas behind Matt Groh.
Matt Patricia: Ever since his return from a disappointing head coaching stint in Detroit, Patricia has been a man of mystery in New England. Officially working as a senior football advisor, he has had an impact in every aspect of the football operations. From pro personnel matters, to college scouting, to helping the coaching staff, the 47-year-old is wearing several hats. He will again play a prominent role on draft weekend as well.
While those five men are the main players and decision makers as far as the draft is concerned, they are obviously not the only ones involved in the process. The college scouting department extends beyond Wolf and Williams, after all, and features national scouts such as Brandon Yeargan and Tucker Ingraham, multiple area scouts and additional scouting assistants.
All of them are involved in trying to prepare the Patriots as best as possible for what lies ahead. As opposed to the likes of Bill Belichick or Matt Patricia, however, they are doing it as a year-round job — one that is culminating in the draft.
As soon as the event is kicked off next Thursday, however, the men above are on the clock. They will make the final call.