Aside from draft time, Patriots fans rarely hear the name Nick Caserio. He is the director of personnel, and he’s one reason the Patriots have had continued success — which is why it came as surprise to ESPNBoston.com reporter Mike Reiss when he said that there was depth at defensive line in this year’s draft.
Reiss quoted Caserio:
I’d say there’s a deep group of defensive linemen that are different types of players.
Caserio and perhaps some of the Patriots higher-ups see a diverse skill set in the later rounds that media analysts Mike Mayock and Mel Kiper Jr. do not. Mel Kiper Jr., however, has never been able to put his finger to the Patriots draft pulse — few have. It would not be out of the norm for the Pats to see something in this draft class that other teams and analysts don’t. It happens every year.
Reiss did note that Caserio might have been throwing the media a curveball to see if they were paying attention, but that seems unlikely. And it seems to broad of statement to be a pre-draft smokescreen.
NESN.com’s Doug Kyed reported that the Patriots were eying Florida prospect Dominique Easley. Due to injury, his stock is volatile and he could go before the Patriots pick at 29 but could slip much further into the second round. Still, it serves to show the Patriots are interested in targeting the defensive line talent early. That’s been well covered in mock drafts; Rasheed Hageman is many analyst’s favorite to go to the Pats.
But perhaps Caserio’s comments could indicate the Pats are interested in selecting more than one defensive linemen. They could target an multi-positional player like Cal’s DeAndre Coleman, who played well on an underachieving Golden Bears team. With Caserio and Belichick, it’s safe to assume they are thinking outside the box — way outside the box.