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Perry: Who's ‘Next Man Up' in Foxboro with Caserio gone?


Bill Belichick knew he had a uniquely qualified individual directing the day-to-day operations of his player personnel department.

"He does a lot of different things for us," Belichick said of Nick Caserio in 2019. "I'm sure he does more than anybody in the league at his position in terms of his interaction with the team, the coaching staff and the college and pro scouting. He's involved in a lot of different things and does a great job at all of them. His job description would be several pages."

In all likelihood, the Patriots won't be able to fill in all the gaps left behind by Caserio's departure for the Texans GM job with just one person. Belichick, for instance, will in all likelihood have even more on his plate.

Patriots Talk Podcast: Nick Caserio fallout -- Why he’s gone and why his loss comes at a bad timeListen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

But that title Caserio has carried since 2008, "Director of Player Personnel," who's next in line for it? Who will be helping Belichick execute whatever plan it is he has in place to rebuild the roster this offseason and beyond?

Here are a few Patriots front-office employees (and one former employee) who could see their workloads get a bump with Caserio settled in Houston...

Dave Ziegler

Having just finished up his first season as assistant director of player personnel, Ziegler would be the obvious choice to take on more responsibility and perhaps slide into the director's chair.

He's been with the Patriots for eight seasons, including four as pro scouting director and assistant director of pro scouting. He's also a candidate for the general manager's job in Denver, though, so there's a chance he's moving on as well. Ziegler entered the league as a member of the scouting department in Denver in 2010, when Josh McDaniels was there as head coach. Like McDaniels and Caserio, Ziegler is a product of the John Carroll football program.

Steve Cargile

The Patriots didn't immediately fill Ziegler's role of pro scouting director when Ziegler got promoted so there's no obvious next-in-line candidate to take on more responsibility if Ziegler isn't around.

Curran: What's the fallout in Foxboro after Caserio's departure?

Cargile would make plenty of sense, though, to find more on his plate in Caserio's absence. He just finished his 10th season with the Patriots and his ninth as a pro scout. Like Caserio, he's spent time on the coaching side, having served as an assistant special teams coach in 2011. Cargile was an All-Ivy safety at Columbia as a collegian and spent time with the Cowboys, Bucs, Broncos, Browns and Giants as a pro. In 2016, he was named AFC Scout of the Year by the Fritz Pollard Alliance. 

Brian Smith

When the Patriots lost director of college scouting Monti Ossenfort to the Titans last offseason, Belichick didn't fill that title. Smith, though, has been the college scouting coordinator in New England for nine years and he was assistant director of college scouting for two seasons.

Smith has seen a variety of roles within the organization over the years, including pro scout, director of operations and coaching assistant. He's been with the club since 2000.

Bob Quinn

Originally from Norwood, Mass., Quinn's return to Foxboro would represent a homecoming of sorts. He was recently relieved of his general manager duties in Detroit after running the front office there for five years.

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Quinn joined the Patriots in 2000 as a player personnel assistant and spent time on both the college and pro scouting sides of things before becoming assistant director of pro personnel and eventually director of pro scouting. He's familiar with how Belichick likes things done, and he has experience handling the kind of team-building work that Caserio leaves behind in New England.

Eliot Wolf

If Belichick is looking for a different kind of voice as the building process in Foxboro gets underway, perhaps Wolf takes on a greater role. He just finished up his first year with the team, and is the lone name in this group that really wouldn't be considered part of the Belichick "tree."

Wolf has reportedly been targeted as an interviewee for GM jobs in the past and was the assistant general manager for the Browns in 2018 and 2019. He spent 14 years in Green Bay before heading to Cleveland, rising up the Packers ranks to become director of player personnel in 2015 and then director of football operations for 2016 and 2017. His father is Hall of Fame personnel man Ron Wolf, who was general manager of the Packers for a decade.

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