Patriots’ Dave Ziegler Talks Replacing Nick Caserio, Free Agency, QB Search

'There’s just so many different attributes that go into playing this position'

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New England Patriots fans, meet Dave Ziegler.

In his first public comments since Nick Caserio left his post as Patriots director of player personnel to become the Houston Texans’ general manager, Ziegler told Megan O’Brien of Patriots.com he’s excited to take on a more prominent role within the organization.

Ziegler, previously the Patriots assistant director of player personnel, now will serve as the team’s top personnel man below head coach/de facto GM Bill Belichick. He said the transition to his new role has been “pretty seamless” thus far.

“It’s been fun, and it’s been challenging,” Ziegler told O’Brien. “It’s been a new level of having to be ultra-organized, prioritize tasks and be involved on just a greater scope with more people in the organization, which has been fun. Luckily for me, the support here within the scouting department from people like Brian Smith and Steve Cargile, Eliot Wolf — I could keep naming people, but we have so many good people here that offer support, that have experience, that it’s made the transition pretty seamless.

“And it’s exciting. A new challenge, more involvement, being able to lead more people and hopefully have a greater impact is something that we all strive for in our careers. So it’s an exciting opportunity and something I’m ready to keep grinding away at.”

Ziegler, who played college football with Caserio and Josh McDaniels at John Carroll University, has worked his way up the Patriots’ personnel ladder since joining the franchise in 2013. He previously spent three seasons as New England’s assistant director of pro scouting and four as the team’s director of pro personnel.

This offseason, Ziegler will play a key role in reconstructing a Patriots roster that went 7-9 and missed the playoffs last season. New England currently boasts more than $60 million in salary cap space, the fourth-most in the NFL.

“I think having cap space gives you flexibility,” Ziegler told O’Brien.
“There aren’t a whole lot of teams at this point that maybe have a lot of cap space, so I think having that flexibility, it just opens up options for you. And I think that at the same time, there’s still a responsibility to spend those dollars wisely.”

Ziegler also was asked about the uptick in trades involving high-profile quarterbacks. Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz already have changed teams this offseason, and Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson have been involved in trade rumors, as well.

The Patriots have a need behind center with only Jarrett Stidham and Jake Dolegala currently under contract for the 2021 season.

“It’s unique,” Ziegler said of the QB trades that have been completed in recent weeks. “I just think it goes back to the high expectations that go along with that position and the money that’s invested in that position and the return that people want. There’s just so many different attributes that go into playing this position.”

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images

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