Nick Caserio’s departure should actually help Patriots’ flawed drafting
By Jerry Trotta
Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio’s departure could actually benefit the franchise moving forward.
The New England Patriots lost a key member of their front office this week when it was reported that director of player personnel Nick Caserio was expected to be hired as GM of the Houston Texans.
In hindsight, the writing was on the wall regarding his departure pretty much as soon as the NFL passed a rule last offseason that prevented teams from writing language into contracts that forbid executives from taking interviews with other organizations. Caserio has long been rumored as a GM candidate, so it was really only a matter of time until he left.
The Patriots will obviously have their hands full replacing him, with the obvious in-house candidate being assistant director of player personnel Dave Ziegler, but Caserio’s departure could be a blessing in disguise for them as it pertains to their panned draft history.
The Patriots’ flawed drafting came to light during their underwhelming 2020 campaign, in which a multitude of their recent selections played a prominent role and failed to live up to expectations.
There’s no denying that Caserio did great things for the franchise as he greatly contributed to their nine Super Bowl appearances and six championships over the last two decades (his tenure started in 2001), but it says a lot about his impaired drafting ability that he was their highest-ranked staffer in the personnel department.
Just take a look at the Patriots’ most recent draft miscues: taking Sony Michel over Nick Chubb or Lamar Jackson in 2018, and selecting N’Keal Harry in the first round in 2019 over studs like AJ Brown, DK Metcalf, Deebo Samuel and Diontae Johnson, among others. And please don’t even get us started on the historically-bad 2017 class.
While we like the potential of 2020 second-round pick Kyle Dugger, fans would be hard-pressed to deny that the likes of safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and wideout Chase Claypool, both of whom were drafted multiple picks later, flashed more promise as rookies this season.
That marks four consecutive years of either failing to draft players that regularly contribute or reaching on prospects who were ultimately outplayed by others taken later in the class and would have more urgently filled a position of need.
These slip-ups aren’t all on Caserio, but he no doubt had significant power in the decision making. Because of that, the Patriots might actually prove to benefit from his departure in the long run.