The Patriots’ recent NFL draft track record in the NFL draft hasn’t been as successful as the franchise’s peak dynasty years, and it now sounds like there might be a renewed focus on a more progressive approach.

New England moved on from Bill Belichick after the franchise’s worst season in three decades, and Jerod Mayo leads what appears to be a youth movement for the coaching staff. The first-year head coach ideally is someone who can relate to today’s players and help foster a new culture.

Director of scouting Eliot Wolf introduced himself Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, and his comments about modern trends in the league seem to hint at the direction of New England’s offseason.

“I think there’s going to be a bit more a reliance on playing young players,” Wolf told reporters, per the Patriots. “I think it’s important in today’s football to be able to play young players and develop from within.”

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Wolf, Mayo and director player personnel Matt Groh likely will keep their options open, but it seems like the Patriots will focus more on retaining their core players, whom Wolf identified as Michael Onwenu as one of those types.

New England last season fielded one of the oldest rosters in the NFL with at least a dozen players over 30 years old, the most in the league. Matthew Slater retiring should lower the average for the Patriots next season, but Wolf’s comments could hint at New England straying away from an older veteran like Russell Wilson or Joe Flacco as a quarterback option, even if it would be a temporary one. Wolf made his view on the position clear.

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“When you look throughout the league, most of the quarterbacks are first-rounders,” Wolf said. “There’s exceptions to be had: Dak Prescott, Brock Purdy and Tom Brady. The league-wide understanding of how important that position is and how important it is to have somebody to help you win games and get over the hump has changed league-wide.”

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The Patriots could get a huge haul for the No. 3 pick, but it sounds like New England is intent on taking a quarterback in the first round. It could be an effect of the NFL being a copycat league and seeing how the Chiefs rebuilt themselves and won two straight Super Bowls.

It helped Kansas City to have the best quarterback in the league, but it maintained flexibility with roster moves by trading away Tyreek Hill and taking chances at wide receiver. It didn’t always pan out, but Mahomes and Travis Kelce allowed the offense to stay afloat even in down seasons. Isiah Pacheco emerged as a cornerstone of the offense while a dominant defense carried the team. That unit was led by two top corners: L’Jarius Sneed and Trent McDuffie. The Chiefs also have core young players like Nick Bolton, Leo Chenal and George Karlaftis to surround Chris Jones.

Again, having a franchise quarterback allowed the Chiefs to assemble all that talent while still competing at the highest level. It’s a model the Patriots can replicate if either Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels end up becoming legit studs.

But the focus on finding and retaining blue-chip stars is a direction much more desirable than finding safe and adequate veteran players.

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