Nick Caserio on looking for Tom Brady replacement: ‘We’re focused on the short term’
|04.29.14 at 2:24 pm ET|
FOXBORO — While there’s almost no chance Johnny Manziel will be on the board when the Patriots draft at No. 29, there is the possibility that Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles might be.
What about Derek Carr or Jimmy Garoppolo?
The question was raised Tuesday to Nick Caserio, Patriots director of player personnel.
“I think right now our focus is on the draft and trying to improve our team,” Caserio said. “We’ll go through the offseason program, once we have the players that are here. Look, we’re focused on the short term. We’ve just started on the offseason program. We’ll see our players, where they are physically once we get on the field, once we start practicing. Right now, I think our focus is on the draft and just trying to improve our football team.”
While stressing the phrase “short term,” Caserio didn’t rule it out altogether when pressed on a follow-up question about the topic.
“I’d say we’re focused on improving our football team in whatever capacity we can do it, and we’ll always consider that.”
Everyone knows that you don’t necessarily find a quarterback of Brady’s caliber in the first round or even the first three or four rounds. Brady, selected at No. 199 overall, was picked by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft.
But it wasn’t just the quarterback position that was in the spotlight Tuesday, Caserio acknowledged that he and head coach Bill Belichick are interested in drafting the best player on the board that fit into the Patriots system, as it is currently.
“What you don’t want to do is pass on a good football player, regardless of your circumstances,” Caserio said, asked if he would pass on taking a wide receiver when there are so many on the roster. “We’ve talked about this is in years past, when we drafted Nate [Solder], with Matt [Light], we felt he was going to be coming back and we had Sebastian [Vollmer]. When we drafted Nate at that time, did we necessarily need to draft that player? Maybe, maybe not but we felt that was a player we had conviction about, we felt good about the player and we’d figure out a way to utilize him.
“You never want to pass up a player. If they’re equal value, maybe you go to a different position but if there’s a good football player and he’s head-and-shoulders above the rest, then internally we just have to make that decision. But you don’t want to pass on a player just because he has a position where there might be numbers, volume or whatever the case may be.”
As for the late nature of this year’s draft, Caserio joked, “Has it given us a few more weeks? Maybe. But I would say, generally speaking, it really hasn’t had much of an impact. Maybe it gave Bill a chance to run the half-marathon over the weekend, which maybe he didn’t mind. Whenever the draft is, whenever they tell us it is, then we’ll be ready for it.”
Belichick completed the half-marathon in Nashville last Saturday, his birthplace.
As for the additions of Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner and Brandon LaFell, Caserio said the assimilation has begun.
“Any new player that we bring in, they start at kind of the same level,” Caserio said. “So, we’ll indoctrinate him into our program. This is the sixth day of the offseason program. There’s a lot of players that have been here. Once we get on the field and start working as a group, we’ll have a better idea. We think those players can help us and we’ll see how they do once we get rolling with the rest of the group.”