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Robert Kraft ‘encouraged’ by Eliot Wolf, although GM search could still be coming

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By: Brian Hines

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Wolf has had final say on Patriots personnel decisions.

After naming Jerod Mayo the next head coach of the New England Patriots in January, owner Robert Kraft’s next duty was establishing who had final say in his team’s personnel department.

Kraft ultimately appointed those duties to the team’s director of scouting, Eliot Wolf, who is joined by Mayo and current director of player personnel Matt Groh atop the personnel department. While Wolf has had final say on free agent signings and roster moves, the group continues to prioritize a more collaborative approach moving forward.

“Well, the major decision in life that I’ve made, I’ve gone with my instincts. And sometimes people don’t agree,” Kraft said Tuesday at the NFL annual meetings. “But I think Eliot has good training, good pedigree. And we actually have a good group of young people. I’ll tell you we’re starting new chapters in our development and as we evolve here. I like the young people we have doing this. We were in an environment previously where everything really funneled to the top. And maybe some of the young people that have worked real hard didn’t get a chance to have their positions heard. Or maybe didn’t speak up as much.

“I’ve encouraged them to be collaborative and I think the combination of Jerod and Matt and together with Eliot, I’m actually excited what I’ve seen. And that also sort of ties in with how players have changed too really over the last 10-15 years, and how systems have changed.”

The front office group also features senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith, who worked with Wolf in both Green Bay and Cleveland. Director of pro scouting Steve Cargile, director of college scouting Camren Williams, and senior personnel advisor Pat Stewart then round out the top personnel executives.

The early returns of the entire group have left the Patriots’ owner optimistic about the setup, but changes could still be on the horizon after the draft.

“I think they’re in tune and I’m excited, I mean, some people call me an eternal optimist, so I don’t know how much you should take what I say, but I’m excited about what’s going on and the process,” Kraft said. “And they’re thorough. They’re very thorough. So I’m excited with what I’ve seen so far and we’ll evaluate after the draft and see how that’s gone and decide where we go from there.”

With Wolf being put in charge of the first and most important stages of New England’s rebuild, it would be a surprise if Kraft suddenly gifted an outsider personnel control — unless things completely fall off the rails during the draft. But, if Kraft hopes on giving Wolf the official general manager title — something they’ve never done since owning the team — he must conduct an official search to follow the NFL’s hiring policy.

Originally posted on Pats Pulpit