Scott Pioli on Patriots’ Approach with Top Prospects: ‘They had to be clean’
When it comes to looking at first-round players in the NFL Draft, former Patriots Vice President of Player Personnel, Scott Pioli, has a pretty good idea of what the New England Patriots usually look for.
Pioli appeared on NFL Network this morning and talked about how the Patriots are likely approaching this draft, as well as some of the things they might have their eyes on should they elect to target one of the big guys up front heading into the 2022 NFL Draft.
Pioli said that while physical tools are important, Bill Belichick will most definitely be looking at the entire picture when it comes to whoever they ultimately end up targeting.
“Generally speaking, when the Patriots go with a big guy, one of the things we did when I was out there was we made sure they were not only big and talented, but they had to be clean,” said Pioli. “During those nine seasons, we made sure when we went in the first round, we took Richard Seymour, Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork, and then Logan Mankins. Every single one of those guys were not only big, physical, and tough, but they were extremely, extremely dependable.”
“So when they are looking at a big guy in the first round, if that’s what they’re going to do, that is going to be not only the physical tools that they’re looking for, but from a trait standpoint, from a human standpoint, those are the kind of players that they would go after.”
What’s interesting is looking at the various mock drafts that have come up online, not one of them appears to be looking at New England targeting someone up front in the first round. Most have them targeting linebackers or defensive backs, with any potential defensive lineman prospects all being projected as being selected in Round 2 and beyond.
That strategy worked out fairly well last year, as the Patriots struck gold when they landed Alabama’s Christian Barmore with the 38th overall selection. They’ll likely try to potentially add someone else to pair next to him this year should the right person be available.
Pioli obviously has a history with Belichick, having joined the team back in 2000 and was considered among one of the best in the league when it came to evaluating talent. He was with the club through the 2008 season, with the team having won three Championships during his tenure. Pioli also previously worked with Belichick in Cleveland and while it may have been a long time since he’s been part of any personnel decisions in New England, he feels that what’s important to them when it comes to that part of the process likely hasn’t changed.
“Again, I know that was a lot of years ago and that’s the way we did it a long time ago,” said Pioli. “But I know that that is a true, tried and trusted way of drafting the big guys.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Portions of the above appeared in this morning’s news and notes column.)
Posted Under: 2022 Patriots Draft
Tags: 2022 Patriots Draft Logan Mankins New England Patriots Richard Seymour Scott Pioli Ty Warren Vince Wilfork