BOSTON (CBS) — The NFL Draft is almost here.
This year’s draft was pushed back a few weeks, giving NFL teams a little extra time to do their homework on all the prospects hoping to play on Sundays.
New England Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio joined Bob Socci on Sunday’s edition of the NFL Draft Preview Show, giving fans an inside look at how the Patriots prepare for the draft.
With the team usually selecting towards the end of the first round, Caserio said a big part of the Patriots’ approach is patience.
“Where we’re picking right now, if we pick, there are a lot of players that will come off the board,” he said. “Even if there is player that we say ‘we’d love to have him’ or such and such, the big thing is you’ve done your work and done your research, and you have a general idea of where players may or may not come off. You have to go through the process and then be patient. If the opportunity comes you either pick the player or trade out, trade up, trade down. You try to sit there and be patient, and based on your instincts and intel, make the decision that is best for the team.”
At a press conference earlier this week, Caserio talked about New England’s search for players that would fit in the Patriots’ system. Socci wanted to know if that means schemes on the field or philosophically off of it?
“Really, probably both. They’re all tied together,” explained Caserio. “We spend a lot of time when we identify a player what his role is. We give a bottom line how we see him with us as a player on the field, and then we look at the other things off the field for more of a fit organizationally. The day-to-day demands of practices and meetings. It’s a demanding program and we demand a lot from our players. They need to understand that coming in, and some players are able to handle that better than others. Trying to figure out the ones we think can handle it is definitely important.”
Pundits say this is one of the deeper drafts of the last 30 years, but it’s also a very immature one given the number of underclassmen. Caserio said the Patriots spent some extra time with underclassmen, doing additional work to see if they’re ready for the NFL game.
“You really have no other choice, because you have to make sure the evaluation of the player is correct. Whatever you need to do along those lines, however much time you need to invest, especially with the underclassmen because they don’t have the big body of work like other kids,” he explained. “They’re taking a step that is significant and going to an environment they haven’t been exposed to before. [Spend] as much time as you can spend with any player, because really what it does is it will eliminate some and then you can move on to the next player and spent time with a focused group.”