Next Pats Podcast

Scout explains how ‘Packer Way' will influence Pats' draft strategy

"Every two to three years, you'll see them draft a quarterback."

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The 2024 NFL Draft is fascinating from a New England Patriots perspective, and not just because they own the No. 3 overall pick.

Patriots director of scouting Eliot Wolf will have final say on New England's draft selections, marking the first time in two decades that the buck won't stop with Bill Belichick. While Wolf promised a "collaborative" draft effort in the Patriots' front office, it's still worth exploring how Wolf's football background may factor into New England's evaluation of prospects.

The son of former Green Bay Packers general manager and Hall of Famer Ron Wolf, Eliot Wolf spent his first 14 NFL seasons in the Packers' front office (2004 to 2017) before working in Cleveland for two years (2018 to 2019) then coming to New England in 2020.

NFL Network scouting analyst and former NFL safety Bucky Brooks, who played under Ron Wolf in Green Bay for three seasons from 1994 to 1997, joined Phil Perry on a new Next Pats Podcast to explain how Eliot Wolf's Packers lineage could influence how New England approaches the draft.

🔊 Next Pats: Scout explains what 'The Packer Way' means for the top Patriots draft pick | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"I'm forever indebted to Eliot's dad, Ron Wolf, because he brought me up, turned me around, allowed me to go from wide receiver to defensive back," Brooks said. "So, I'm very familiar with how the Hall of Fame executive would think in terms of building the Packers, and I think his son takes a very similar approach."

While the Belichick-era Patriots had a nuanced grading system that involved role-specific evaluations of prospects, Brooks sees Wolf's department employing a different strategy.

"They're going to take the best player available," Brooks said. "... They're also going to create a situation up there where they draft and develop their players. They go after guys who have kind of the prototypical things that typically succeed in the league. So, height, weight, speed, production -- those things would be valued at a very high level."

The "best player available" at No. 3 very well could be a quarterback, as USC's Caleb Williams, UNC's Drake Maye and LSU's Jayden Daniels are the consensus top three picks on many draft boards. Brooks believes the Patriots will prioritize the QB position in the draft, just as Green Bay did by drafting the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Brian Brohm, Matt Flynn, Brett Hundley and Jordan Love during Eliot Wolf's tenure.

"As it relates to quarterback, I think you'll see the Patriots going forward always invest in the quarterback position," Brooks said. "Every two to three years, you'll see them draft a quarterback, because it's the most valuable commodity that you can have. If you develop a backup quarterback, you can trade it off and get things.

"As it relates to No. 3, I think this is a tough situation because it depends on what happens in front of them. I think they will probably end up being very comfortable with either Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye, and then it's about, 'How do we build the team around him to best support him?'

"I don't think they can go wrong. If Drake Maye is the pick at three, I think it's very important that you have playmakers around him at wide receiver, you have an offensive line that allows him to lean on the running game and then you have a defense that can keep the score down."

There's an argument for the Patriots trading down from No. 3 to stockpile draft assets and address their other needs. But based on the Wolfs' history, it sounds like QB will be atop New England's priority list entering the draft.

Also in this episode:

  • Bucky Brooks gives his ranking of the top three QBs 
  • Phil Perry's latest mock draft
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