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#PostPulpit Mailbag: Does Eliot Wolf deserve to lead New England’s personnel department?

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By: Brian Hines

Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

This week’s mailbag answers questions about Eliot Wolf, the Patriots’ coaching staff, and more.

The New England Patriots’ offseason has been in full swing as they continue to reorder their personnel department and establish their coaching staff. Once those are completed, things will move quickly as the NFL Combine is just several weeks away and free agency begins in just over a month.

So with that, let’s get right into this week’s #PostPulpit mailbag.

Does Eliot Wolf really deserve a chance to be gm? – Brad M.

Yes. It may be an underwhelming hire to some as he was already in the building, but Wolf has had the resume for years to become a general manager.

Wolf spent 14 years in Green Bay’s front office from 2004 to 2017, working his way up the ranks from pro personnel assistant all the way to director of football operations. Before he was given that title in 2016, Wolf also nearly became the Detroit Lions general manager.

He then interviewed for a GM position with the 49ers the following year before being named the Browns’ assistant general manager. And since coming to New England in 2020, Wolf also interviewed for a general manager spots with the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings.

Time will tell if the internal promotion works, but Wolf’s resume supports him having the Patriots general manager title — if he officially gets it or not.

@George_Davis_24 Clean slate with the offensive staff you think?

100 percent, George. With Alex Van Pelt named the offensive coordinator he’s been filling in his staff as he pleases. That’s included familiar coaches such as T.C. McCartney as QBs coach (more on him soon), Scott Peters along the offensive line, and Ben McAdoo as a senior offensive assistant.

New England has spots to fill as wide receivers, running back, and tight ends coach. Troy Brown’s contract is up and it seems like they may go elsewhere. Old friend Chad O’Shea, who is friendly with Van Pelt, is a name to watch. David Raih is another to potentially watch for that spot.

A new running backs coach will definitely be hired as Vinnie Suneri departed to the University of Washington. Cleveland’s ex-coach Stump Mitchell could be near the top of the target list. And while Will Lawing’s future is unknown, it would be a surprise to see him back with Bill O’Brien elsewhere.

@Skywal1Thaddeus Is bringing in T.C. McCartney as TEs coach a real possibility?

Nailed the name, close on the title.

The Patriots are bringing T.C. McCartney into the building as their quarterbacks coach. McCartney played the position at LSU on the scout team from 2007-11, but only has one year of experience coaching QB’s with the Denver Broncos back in 2019. He has spent most of his coaching career as an offensive assistant — including a stint under Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers from 2017-18 — but coached tight ends under Van Pelt in Cleveland the past two years.

Despite not having much experience coaching quarterbacks, McCartney will be surrounded by Van Pelt and assistant Ben McAdoo, who have plenty of QB training under their belt. It could be a valuable step in the 34-year old’s coaching career to put him on track to become an offensive coordinator, perhaps even being a succession plan for Van Pelt if all things go great in Foxboro over the next few seasons.

@Swirtzy Who should be the Pats #1 FA target?

Any of the top wide receivers, if they actually become available. Tee Higgins and Michael Pittman Jr. seem like franchise tag candidates. We’ll see how it shakes out with Mike Evans in Tampa Bay.

From there, there unfortunately isn’t much to get excited about at New England’s positions of needs. Perhaps Calvin Ridley interests them at wide receiver, or Jermaine Eluemunor and/or Jonah Williams at the tackle position. Jacoby Brissett or Joe Flacco at the quarterback position would provide a quality veteran to the room.

But the Patriots may be able to spend their big bucks elsewhere and hone in at their main three positions of need in the draft. And while major resources should be spent on offense (Michael Onwenu), don’t rule out a splash move on defense with their cap space and the limited amount of available offensive talent.

Baltimore’s Geno Stone and New York’s Xavier McKinney are backend players who could bring back a more traditional free safety to the defense. Along the edge, New York’s Bryce Huff, Houston Jonathan Greenard, and Miami’s Andrew Van Ginkel may be quality adds depending on what happens with Josh Uche.

@Spicylife212 Should the Pats draft Harrison Jr and try and grab Penix in the 2nd round or try and move back up into the 1st to ensure the pick?

If they like a quarterback at No. 3, that’s the pick. If not, I may lean elsewhere in those slots where things currently stand.

Marvin Harrison Jr. will be a tremendous player, but the argument for building through the trenches could be made with Eliot Wolf in charge — especially if you can trade down and add extra capital in the process?

As for Penix Jr., I have my concerns with the gunslinger. The medical issues are obvious, but Penix has issues under pressure and struggled throwing over the middle of the field — two things Michigan took advantage of in the National Championship game.

But, if this is the route New England decides to go, perhaps they do move up into the back-end of Round 1 so they lock in the fifth-year option for a QB.

@jpak12 Which non top 3 QB is the best fit for AVP’s offence?

What I will give Penix Jr. is he could be a strong fit in Van Pelt’s offensive scheme. He has the best deep ball in this class and would thrive attacking vertical in this offense. Throwing off play-action was also a big part of his game at Washington (32.2 percent of his drop backs last season) which would also fit the system.

@TheeGM1 Better fit to pair with MHJ, JJ McCarthy or Bo Nix?

Not a huge fan of either J.J. McCarthy or Bo Nix at this point in the draft process. But if I had to pick one, I’d lean McCarthy mainly due to his age and room for growth.

That’s all for this week’s #PostPulpit mailbag. If you have questions you’d liked to be answered next week, submit them on Twitter using #PostPulpit. Make sure to be following @iambrianhines and @PatsPulpit as well.

Originally posted on Pats Pulpit