Patriots’ Next De-Facto GM? Top Candidates To Replace Nick Caserio

Who's left to become the Patriots' next de facto general manager?

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The New England Patriots’ front office has been ransacked over the last three years, and top-exec director of player personnel Nick Caserio is the latest to leave.

Caserio will join the Houston Texans as their new general manager, according to multiple reports. Caserio leaves the Patriots after 20 seasons as director of player personnel, wide receivers coach, director of pro personnel, area scout, coaching assistant and personnel assistant.

Assistant director of player personnel Dave Ziegler is the top candidate to replace Caserio as the Patriots’ de facto general manager below head coach Bill Belichick. Ziegler, however, reportedly has been requested to interview for the Denver Broncos’ general manager vacancy.

Four key front-office execs have left the Patriots since 2018. Former Patriots college scouting director Monti Ossenfort was hired away by the Tennessee Titans last offseason. Former Patriots scout DuJuan Daniels was hired away by the Las Vegas Raiders in 2019, former area scout Pat Stewart left in 2018 to join the Philadelphia Eagles before being hired away by the Carolina Panthers, and former national scout James Liipfert left for the Houston Texans in 2018.

Eliot Wolf, a scouting consultant for the Patriots who joined the organization in 2020 after stints as the Cleveland Browns’ assistant general manager and Green Bay Packers’ director of football operations, could move up the ranks in 2021. College scouting coordinator Brian Smith, who joined the organization in 2000, also could earn a promotion. The Patriots’ most experienced pro scouts are Steve Cargile (2011) and Ronnie McGill (2012). The team’s national scouts are Matt Groh (2011) and Brandon Yeargan (2013).

A number of former Patriots front office executives are available, as well, including former Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn, former Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli and former Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff.

If Ziegler leaves, the Patriots will either need to promote from deep within the front office or look outside the organization for a top voice in the scouting department.

This latest shakeup could force the Patriots to promote rising stars in their scouting department, regardless. If Ziegler moves up to director of player personnel, then he’d ideally have a college scouting director and pro scouting director named below him.

The Patriots already are in the midst of their most important offseason of the Belichick era. And now they must find their future at quarterback without Belichick’s top executive.

Thumbnail photo via Jim Matthews/Green Bay Press Gazette via USA TODAY Sports Images

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