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#pounditMonday, May 27, 2024

Patriots have made 1 major change in post-Bill Belichick era

Patriots helmet on the bench

Aug 10, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; A New England Patriots helmet sits on the sideline during the first half against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots appear to have made a significant change to the way they prepare for the draft now that Bill Belichick is no longer running the show.

In addition to being the head coach in New England for more than two decades, Belichick also operated as the team’s de-facto general manager. He had final say over roster decisions, and ownership took pride in running the business side of things without getting directly involved with football operations.

It appears that organizational structure no longer exists in New England. Dianna Russini of The Athletic reported on Monday that the Patriots are fielding calls from teams that have interest in acquiring the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL Draft. While director of scouting and new GM Eliot Wolf is said to be “running point,” Russini says team president Jonathan Kraft has been “heavily involved in the decision making.”

If that report is accurate, it means the chain of command in the Patriots’ football operations department looks much different now than it did a few months ago. Even if there are many who believe Robert Kraft influenced the team’s decision to draft Mac Jones in 2021, Belichick almost certainly could have vetoed that move if he wanted to.

Robert Kraft is supposedly hoping for one specific outcome in the first round of the draft on Thursday. In the past, he would have needed his coach to agree. Now, it sounds like he and Jonathan might have the final say before the draft card is turned in.

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