Last winter, the Houston Texans hired New England Patriots personnel chief Nick Caserio to be their next general manager.
Could another team mine New England’s front office for GM talent this season?
An ESPN story Wednesday by Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano listed 10 “potential general manager candidates” in this offseason’s hiring cycle. Two of them currently work for New England: Dave Ziegler and Eliot Wolf.
Ziegler was promoted to Caserio’s former role of director of player personnel last offseason. He interviewed for the Denver Broncos’ GM vacancy but later withdrew from consideration to remain with the Patriots, for whom he’s worked since 2013.
Wolf is in his second season as a Patriots front office consultant. The son of former Packers GM Ron Wolf, he spent 14 seasons with Green Bay — rising from pro personnel assistant to director of football operations — then two as the Cleveland Browns’ assistant GM before joining Bill Belichick’s personnel staff in 2020.
Ziegler and Wolf both played important roles in reshaping New England’s roster before the 2021 season. The two were heavily involved — along with national scout Matt Groh and senior football consultant Matt Patricia — in the team’s preparation for an NFL draft that’s already yielded three major hits in quarterback Mac Jones, defensive tackle Christian Barmore and running back Rhamondre Stevenson.
Those rookies and a raft of impact free-agent additions (Matthew Judon, Hunter Henry, Kendrick Bourne, Kyle Van Noy, Davon Godchaux, Jalen Mills, Ted Karras, Nelson Agholor, etc.) have helped turn the Patriots from a 7-9 team a year ago into a 9-4 Super Bowl contender. (Asked by ESPN’s Monday night broadcast team about New England’s return to form, Belichick, the team’s de facto GM, chalked it up to “better players.”)
The Patriots have lost several members of their personnel and scouting staffs in recent years, including Caserio, former director of college scouting Monti Ossenfort and former scouts DuJuan Daniels, James Liipfert and Pat Stewart.
Fowler and Graziano also were the latest to list Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo as a potential head-coaching candidate. Mayo, who interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles last season, also appeared on the candidate watch list compiled by NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero.