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TRANSCRIPT: Patriots Director of Scouting Eliot Wolf’s Press Conference 2/27

Wolf Talked about the Patriots' approach with the #3 pick and the team's personnel philosophy moving forward.

Ian Logue
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February 27, 2024 at 12:33 pm ET

TRANSCRIPT: Patriots Director of Scouting Eliot Wolf’s Press Conference 2/27(PHOTO: Patriots Eliot Wolf addresses the media at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, IN on Tuesday, February 27 at 10 AM ET.)

🕑 Read Time: 10 minutes

Here’s the transcript from Patriots Director of Scouting’s Eliot Wolf from the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday:

On the process of how he wound up here:

“Thanks for the question.  I want to thank Robert and Jonathan Kraft for this tremendous opportunity that’s been bestowed upon me.  [I’ll] continue to work together with Jerod Mayo, it’s been really exciting so far.  And Matt Groh, Richard Miller, all the people that kind of make the Patriots go behind the scenes over the years.  It’s going to be a lot of work, and we’re really excited to kind of get going here and try to help improve the team and get us back to respectability.”

On what his title is:

“My title is Director of Scouting”

On what his time in Green Bay and what he learned:

My time in Green Bay meant everything.  That’s where I learned my foundation of scouting, leadership, how to treat people, how to deal with people, really just everything in terms of the business of football, and it’s prepared me for this moment to help the New England Patriots get back to where we need to go.”

On Packers receivers Greg Jennings and DeVante Adams and his thoughts on Marvin Harrison Jr.:

“Those players that you mentioned that we had with Green Bay, it wasn’t me, it was a collaborative effort.  We were really excited to get those guys, and they’ve obviously … Greg was a great player and DeVante continues to break records, and eventually, he’ll be getting the gold jacket.  Thanks for the question about Marvin, he’s a good player.  Obviously, there’s a lot of strengths to his game, and he can translate into any offense in the NFL.”

On what stands out with the Bills as they try to compete with them:

“Brandon Beane’s done a great job with those guys.  They obviously have Josh Allen.  They have tremendous weapons on offense.  They have a really good defensive scheme.  We’ll be able to compete with them as we move forward here.  They’ve done a great job drafting, and that’s something that we’re going to continue to try and do.”

On the fact they have Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe and the #3 pick and what that means at QB:

“I’d say there’s a lot of options on the table.  I’m glad you asked about Mac and Bailey.  We’re not going to be a program that’s talking about these guys in terms of through the media.  We’re going to do what’s best for the team behind the scenes, and the strategy of that is going to be myself, Jerod Mayo, Matt Groh and we’re going to try to do the right thing for the team.”

On the report Mike Onwenu fired his agent and what that means to the negotiations:

“It doesn’t impact us.  Mike’s a core player for us that it’s no secret we want to try to keep Mike and it will just be a little bit of a wrinkle dealing with him.  Mike’s really smart and he’s introspective and he’s thoughtful, and he knows what he wants, which is always good when you’re dealing with a player and he’s certainly someone that we view as a cornerstone for us.”

On his thoughts on the quarterbacks in this year’s draft:

“I think it’s a good year for quarterbacks.  It’s a really good year at a lot of positions.  Like any position, we’re going to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, determine who fits for us.  We’re pretty early in the process here.  I haven’t met any of these guys, Jerod hasn’t met any of these guys.  As we continue through the process here, we’ll determine what’s best for the team.  One thing about the quarterbacks in this draft specifically that I’m excited about is they all look like they’re really tough guys which is obviously great at any position but the quarterback position especially.”

On how he tries to gauge mental toughness and how important this week is:

“I don’t know how important this week is for that specifically, but I think it’s about talking to the right people and asking the right questions, and when we meet with them, asking the right questions and that may be here in a formal interview, that may be at a later date at the pro day or wherever that may be, but we have to determine who can handle being the quarterback of the New England Patriots.”

On the size of his staff and how he sorts through their skillsets:

“That’s a great question.  I think the key is just having open and honest meetings and dialogue.  We had a series of meetings last week that were tremendous for us as we all got on the same page in terms of what our team needs are, and I was actually really encouraged by everybody willing to just say their opinion, even if it was different from the previous person.  So having those open, honest meetings and working together to determine the best outcome is definitely what’s important.”

On his experience in the past determining who is good at certain things, while others aren’t good at that but may be good at something else:

“Of course.  I think part of being in a leadership position is understanding the strengths and weaknesses of everybody in the building, and that includes myself.  Like, I have strengths, I have weaknesses, and it’s important to be able to supplement your team with people who can feed off of each other.”

On what attributes he values the most evaluating quarterbacks:

“Good question.  First of all, being someone that can elevate his teammates, someone that your teammates want to play for.  I think that’s an extremely underrated thing that people don’t really talk about that much.  Leadership’s important and obviously physical talent, we wouldn’t be talking about these guys if they weren’t physically talented.”

On how much he emphasis he puts on a quarterback’s body language on the field, and if he’s ever thought about using an outside agency for player evaluations:

“Body language on the field is very important at that position.  You don’t want a guy that’s throwing his hands up after a bad play, or you can see him physically pointing at somebody.  Body language is important.  Everybody’s looking to the quarterback.  And as far as outside agencies, I’m not exactly sure what you mean by that …”

Like personality tests, and to see how this personality matches this personality, those type of things:

“Yeah, we have a lot of tests that we use and resources like that.  I don’t know if there’s one specific to body language that we utilize.”

On the franchise tag and how it applies to Mike Onwenu or Kyle Dugger:

“I would say that all the options are on the table.  We definitely want to keep Mike and Kyle, and we’re hopeful to continue to work with Kyle’s agent and Mike to make that happen.”

On his roster philosophy and how it’s different from what he’s been a part of the last few years:

“I think there’s going to be a little bit more reliance on playing young players.  I think it’s really important in today’s football to be able to play young players and develop from within.”

On if he’s open to trading the #3 pick and if he’s fielded any calls:

“Yeah, I would say all options are on the table and we haven’t heard anything specifically, no.”

On the chain of command and who is responsible for that #3 pick and who makes the call:

“It’s going to be a collaborative effort, coach Mayo, myself, Matt Groh, the whole staff.  At the end of the day, somebody has to make that pick, and that will be myself.”

On the fact the last Super Bowl had guys taken at notably different spots and the traits he looks for as he evaluates quarterbacks:

“That’s a good question.  I think when you look throughout the league, most of the quarterbacks are first-rounders.  I think there’s exceptions to be had, like Dak Prescott, Brock Purdy, and Tom Brady.  But I think just the league-wide understanding of how important that position is and how important it is to have somebody there that can help you win games and get over the hump has changed league-wide.”

On his thoughts on why he thinks the Packers keep getting the quarterback right:

“Luck. [Laughs]  No, I’m just kidding.  No, I think the scouting process that I grew up with that [Packers GM] Brian Gutekunst continues to employ has been really good, and they’ve been fortunate to sit [Aaron] Rodgers and sit Love for a year, and that’s been able to help them.  I wouldn’t say that applies to every quarterback, but it certainly helps them.”

On the lessons he’s learned from his father [Ron Wolf]:

“I think in terms of scouting itself, is just kind of trust what you see and believe in it.  But also really lessons about people.  I still believe, and this is great to be able to work with Jerod who also believes this, this is a people business and it’s about developing people and the culture is created from the people in your building.  Whether that’s scouts, coaches, players, support staff, and I think that’s tremendously important as you try to build the culture that you want.”

On Mayo’s ‘cash to burn’ comment and if they plan to be aggressive in free agency:

“We’re going to aggressively try to help the team.  Take that however you want.  But we’ll try to do what’s right, whether that’s means spending or saving.  TBD.”

On his first trip to the combine and what he remembers about it:

“That’s a good question.  So my first trip to the combine was 1993, I was 10-years old. This is my 30th combine.  I’ve been every year except for 2021 when they didn’t have it.  The combine now is so much more organized than it used to be.  I mean, the workout was supposed to start at 10:00 back in the 90s, and maybe it would start at 1:00 and everybody would be sitting in the dome the whole time, it was crazy.  There were no formal interview times. It was like a big scrum of people grabbing guys.  There were scouts and coaches fighting each other because they wanted to interview somebody next.  It was kind of wild.  But it’s a credit to Jeff Foster and the league and NFS to putting this together.”

On what 10-year old him was doing there:

“I was really just kind of dipping my toes into scouting and watching the workouts and evaluating.  My dad used to sit down at the start of the 40s, and it was him, Bill Parcells and Al Davis, and I was just sitting there soaking it all up.  It was just tremendously rewarding. and kind of as I look back on it, it was definitely a special time.”

On what Patriots fans should expect from an Eliot Wolf-led personnel department:

“That’s a good question. I think the main thing is just getting players that fit our culture.  Getting players that want to do right, want to do the extra.  But in terms of just physical skills, we need to weaponize the offense.  We need to be faster and more explosive on defense.  Height, weight, speed, playmaking ability, there will definitely be an emphasis on those things.”

On what his pitch to free agents is:

“Yeah, I would say our pitch to free agents is, this is a new program, and we’re heading in the right direction.  It’s a new era.  We have leadership with Jerod Mayo that is going to be tremendous.  He’s just an unbelievable leader and developer of people.  And I think as we move forward with a new offense and defense, it’s going to be pretty special and exciting here.”

On Robyn Glaser’s role and the ways she’s been helpful:

“Robyn’s been a good resource for everyone.  She continues in her role as Chief Legal Counsel, and she’s been helpful with some of the day-to-day behind-the-scenes things that need to get taken care of.”

On the fact the team hasn’t been very good the last few years and whether or not he’ll have to pay a “tax” in some ways to encourage them to come here:

“Yeah, in some ways.  But I think that’s kind of free agency as a whole.  Teams can put their best recruiting pitch on and, at the end of the day, a lot of the times, they’ll go to whoever is offering them the most money.”

On what he’s hoping to accomplish this week:

“That’s a good question too.  The amount of information  that we get here is just so tremendous.  Not only the timing and testing, the measurements, the body types, the jumps, and all those things, but we get all the medical information.  We get to meet with 45 guys formally and countless others informally.  Talking to agents, getting information, talking to front office people on other teams, and scouts.  The amount of information that we can accumulate in a week is awesome, and it’s really a credit to the city of Indianapolis the way this thing’s set up too because everything is right here.  It was 70 degrees out yesterday, but there’s no need to go outside here because everything’s just kind of connected.  It’s still a really great resource for us.”

On the #3 pick and how involved he anticipates ownership being involved on some of the decisions:

“They prefer to stay out of football, but they’ve been very supportive of Jerod and myself and Matt.  Anything we need, we’ve got, in a lot of ways.  I think they have opinions, which they’ll share, but ultimately it’s down to Jerod and I.”

On if he and Alonzo Highsmith have changed the rating system that they’re using to evaluate players:

“We changed the grading system.  It’s a little bit more similar to what we did in Green Bay.  The previous Patriots system was more, “this is what the role is,” and this is more, kind of, value-based.  So I think it makes it a lot easier for scouts to rate guys and put them in a stack of like, “this guy’s the best,” “this guy’s the worst,” and everything in-between falls into place rather than sort of more nuanced approaches.  I just think it accounts value better and it also makes it easier for the scouts in the fall as well as in the spring to determine where guys will get drafted.”

On what Alonzo Highsmith’s title is:

“Senior Personnel Executive.”

On the new system not being role-specific, all receivers will be ranked together, running backs will be ranked together:

“In a sense.  I mean, we’ll still have slot receivers, perimeter receivers, things like that.  To me, it’s a little bit less about the grading system and more about the process that we’ve put in place.  This process is a lot more collaborative.  We hear from the scouts more.  We’re going to be able to determine together what’s the best thing for the team at the end of the day.”

On how people have responded to changing the grading system:

“It’s actually been really encouraging.  The scouts have been really open to it, and they’re trying.  Some guys have been here for 20 years with the old system.  So, again, I think, for me, it’s a lot less about the grading system and more about the process of determining who the best player for the Patriots is.”

On having guys he worked with in the front office in Green Bay working with him here:

“The front office I worked with in Green Bay was phenomenal.  I mean, when I look back at those times, the amount of guys that have gone on to great success in this league, and Ted [Thompson] was the forefront of that.  Ted was so humble and so introspective. and just taking a lot of things from him will help me as I move forward in my career.”

On how he would define “the Packer Way”:

“Yeah, the Packer Way, to me, is just sort of draft and develop, extend your core performers from within, and again it’s about honesty, respect, and treating people the right way.”

On transfer quarterbacks, and whether or not playing more than one system is a benefit:

“I don’t know that I would say it’s a benefit or a hinderence.  I think every person, every situation is different.  I think there’s something to be said for somebody that’s grown and developed in the same scheme for four years or five years, and I also think there’s something to be said for someone who has had those different exposures and has had to deal with that adversity of changing schemes and changing staffs.  So I think it’s an individual-based answer.”

You can watch the full press conference via the team’s YouTube page below:

READ NEXT:
Tuesday Afternoon Patriots Notebook 2/27: News and Notes

About Ian Logue

Ian Logue is a Seacoast native and owner and senior writer for PatsFans.com, an independent media site covering the New England Patriots and has been running this site in one form or another since 1997.


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