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Patriots Executive Eliot Wolf Holds Pre-Draft Press Conference

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Patriots executive Eliot Wolf (photo courtesy of the New England Patriots X account)

One week before the 2024 NFL Draft gets underway, New England Patriots executive Eliot Wolf met with the media to discuss the team’s plans. Although Wolf’s title remains the Director of Scouting. However, Wolf is also believed to be the ultimate decision-maker in Foxboro, especially as far as the draft is concerned. Thus, people were eager to hear what Wolf had to say about the week ahead. Wolf touched on several topics in a session that lasted just under 20 minutes.

Wolf’s Role With the New England Patriots

When asked about his role as the final decision-maker for the Patriots, Wolf did not put much stock into it. He stressed the collaboration of everyone, including coaches and scouts, as having valuable input. He singled out head coach Jerod Mayo as having significant input as well.

Rumors exist that New England might be interviewing for a general manager after the draft. Eliot Wolf would be an obvious candidate, as he is currently filling the role of de facto GM in New England. Wolf was asked if he feels he is currently working on a trial basis in his role.

“I haven’t thought about it that way, ” Wolf said with a chuckle. That’s an interesting way to think about it. Since I’ve been given this opportunity to work with these people, I’ve just kind of put my head down and tried to do things that I feel like are the best for the Patriots.”

Wolf says having final decision-making authority will not give him the green light to overrule the room.

“If I’m the only person that wants a player, and everybody else in the building doesn’t want a player, I’m not crazy. We’re going to try and do what’s right.”

On Trading in the Draft

“We’re open to anything.  Moving up, moving down. We’re open for business in the first round and every round. We have some holes we feel like we need to fill in the draft and you know, we’re a draft and develop team. The more picks we have the better. But if there’s an opportunity to move up and strike if the board kind of recommends it, then we won’t be afraid to pull the trigger on that, either.”

Despite Eliot Wolf’s comments, moving up in Round 1 remains highly unlikely. The Chicago Bears seem solidified with Caleb Williams as the No. 1 pick and the Washington Commanders have expressed no desire to move out of No. 2. However, trading up in future rounds is a distinct possibility. Moving up from No. 34 to get into Round 1 and select a wide receiver (Adonai Mitchell) or offensive tackle (Tyler Guyton) is a legitimate possibility. Those options exist for rounds further down the draft as well.

On Drafting a Quarterback

Eliot Wolf would not commit to taking a quarterback in the draft, whether the Patriots stayed at No. 3 or moved back. He also wasn’t interested in getting into how New England ranks the quarterbacks. He did state they would be looking for the best long-term player, not necessarily who is most ready in 2024. That philosophy holds for all positions in all rounds.

Wolf did state he did feel his team would be ready to support a rookie quarterback, citing their offensive line as a positive.

“We have a solid offensive line. We re-signed Mike Onwenu, we have David Andrews coming back.” Wolf went on stating, “We have three rookies that we drafted last year that are developing. We signed (Chukwuma) Okorafor from the Steelers..”

His reasons for optimism went beyond the offensive line. “I mean, a good running game, a solid foundation, and a solid system in place with coach (Alex) Van Pelt on the offense.  So I definitely feel like we can support (a rookie QB).”

On the Patriots Problems Drafting Wide Receivers

Wolf was asked about the problems the Patriots organization has had in the past drafting wide receivers. This is particularly important at the moment as it is believed to be a targeted position for New England in the upcoming draft.

“That’s a good question. I’m not totally sure how to answer that. I think the Packers had good success. (Former Green Bay GM) Ted Thompson was phenomenal at drafting receivers, identifying receivers in the second and third round. Hopefully, some of that rubs off on me, the things that I’ve learned from him. I don’t think there’s any one thing that I can point to about why it hasn’t worked here or why it worked better there. I don’t know how to answer that.”

(Perhaps not an encouraging comment for current Patriots wide receiver Tyquan Thornton, a former second-round pick.)

Other Tidbits

Among the other notable comments coming from Eliot Wolf was the fact that the New England Patriots wouldn’t feel like they were “settling” for the QB they end up with (a popular talking point on Boston sports radio in the past) if they would up with Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye, or J.J. McCarthy. He also stated how impressed he was with how Maye and McCarthy’s teammates talked about them.

To see Eliot Wolf’s entire press conference, click here for the complete video on YouTube.

 

 

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