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Eliot Wolf bluntly describes Patriots' difference from Bill Belichick regime: "Less of a hard-ass vibe"

Sports Final: Jerod Mayo's staff is introduced and what the Patriots will be looking for at NFL Comb
Sports Final: Jerod Mayo's staff is introduced and what the Patriots will be looking for at NFL Comb 06:54

BOSTON -- Eliot Wolf is in the often unenviable position of following an all-time great. As the new director of scouting for the Patriots, Wolf is taking over for Bill Belichick, who oversaw every facet of the Patriots' roster management during his tenure as head coach and de facto general manager.

Wolf, who joined the Patriots to work for Belichick as a consultant in 2020, could opt to shy away from any direct discussions about the Belichick era in order to downplay any direct comparisons being made. Yet when speaking to the media on Tuesday in Indianapolis, Wolf dived headfirst into those waters when he was asked what will be different about the Patriots' operation going forward.

When speaking with New England reporters following his press conference at the podium, Wolf said the new regime has "less of a hard-ass vibe."

That blunt description of the Patriots' former way of business is universally known throughout the football and media world, as Belichick certainly didn't prioritize having an openness with the public about the goings-on in Foxboro. It was a strategy that certainly didn't prevent the Patriots from winning six Super Bowls and reaching another three under Belichick, but Wolf made it clear that the group running operations now is simply taking a different tack.

To that end, Wolf explained in great detail what has changed about the Patriots' grading system when it comes to prospects.

"We changed the grading system -- it's a little bit more similar to what we did in Green Bay," Wolf explained. "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 'em 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 makes -- it accounts value better and also makes it easier for the scouts in the fall as well as in the spring to determine where guys will get drafted."

Wolf was asked a follow-up question for more detail on the Patriots' new grading system, and he offered up more details.

"To me, it's a little bit less about the grading scale and more about the process that we put in place," he said. "This process is a lot more collaborative. We hear from the scouts more. We're going to be able to determine together, like, what's the best thing for the team at the end of the day."

And while the draft -- including the Patriots sitting at No. 3 overall -- will be a critical element to the Patriots' rebuilding process after a 4-13 season, free agency will be a significant factor as well. Wolf was open in saying the team wants to re-sign Kyle Dugger and Mike Onwenu (both of whom are expected to land top-of-the-market deals as pending free agents), and he also shared the pitch that he intends to offer up to outside players when free agency opens in March.

"This is a new program and we're heading in the right direction. It's a new era," Wolf said. "We have leadership with Jerod Mayo that is going to be tremendous. He is just an unbelievable leader and developer of people, and I think that as we move forward with the new offense and defense, it's gonna be pretty special and exciting here."

Unbelievable leadership, a special and exciting time, and less of a hard-ass vibe. The new era of Patriots football has indeed begun.

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