Nick Caserio

2020 NFL Draft: Nick Caserio hints at who Patriots may target on Day 2

2020 NFL Draft: Nick Caserio hints at who Patriots may target on Day 2

What to do with 13 picks in the remaining six rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft?

The New England Patriots certainly aren't going to reveal their plans, but director of player personnel Nick Caserio offered a helpful roadmap for Patriots fans Thursday night.

After the Patriots traded the No. 23 overall pick to the Los Angeles Chargers for their No. 37 and No. 71 selections, Caserio was asked in a conference call if he thought there was still depth at the quarterback position, a potential area of need for New England.

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Here was his answer:

I think there's a number of players kind of in a pocket here probably these next two to three rounds across positions. When go back and evaluate what happened tonight, six or seven (offensive) tackles went, six or seven corner(backs) went, six receivers, four quarterbacks.

Going into the draft, I think the expectation was that's probably how it was going to shake out. Certain positions may have a little bit more left over here moving forward.

Bill Belichick, Caserio and the Patriots sat back and watched runs on positions like offensive tackle and cornerback that aren't their most pressing needs.

By simple math, that means there's a wealth of players still available at other positions New England does need -- namely tight end, linebacker, defensive tackle and edge rusher.

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That's a good explanation for why the Patriots traded out of the first round (again): They feel pretty confident about landing a quality player at a position of need in the second and third rounds.

"Hopefully, we're in a position where there's still good football players that are available that we're able to pick," Caserio added. "That's how we feel. We'll have to take it pick by pick here. There's still good players that are kind of littered throughout the draft here."

Caserio and Belichick certainly have the resources to stock up, as the Patriots enter Day 2 with five picks total in the second and third rounds: Nos. 37, 71, 87, 98 and 100.

Could they target one of the remaining QBs or wide receivers with one of those selections or trade down again? Caserio suggested the latter was a possibility.

"You basically have 12 picks in five rounds, so we’ll see," Caserio said. "Like I said, we're going to look at what's left, then kind of recalibrate, move around a little bit. We certainly have the ammunition, the flexibility to do so."

But when New England actually makes a pick, don't be surprised if the team targets one of those "certain positions" that's been less picked over.

Watch Patriots execute NFL Draft trade with Chargers in great behind-the-scenes video

Watch Patriots execute NFL Draft trade with Chargers in great behind-the-scenes video

Social distancing actually brought fans closer to the key players in the 2020 NFL Draft.

With NFL head coaches and general managers quarantined in their own homes due to the coronavirus pandemic, we got to see their actual home setups as they conducted business Thursday night.

The New England Patriots (shocker) didn't make a pick in Thursday's first round after trading their No. 23 overall selection to the Los Angeles Chargers for Nos. 37 and 71.

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But the Patriots still gave us a great video showing head coach Bill Belichick and director of player personnel Nick Caserio completing the trade in real time.

After another Patriots staffer notes the Minnesota Vikings took Justin Jefferson at No. 22, Caserio immediately says he'll "call the league," meaning New England had the trade ready to go right went it went on the clock.

Caserio checks with Belichick (from his house in Nantucket), who asks for any final objections -- "unless anybody's got any other thoughts" -- before giving the green light:

"OK, let it go."

Caserio then phones the league to lay out the details of the trade. And just like that, it's in the books.

The whole thing looked like a pretty seamless process given the circumstances, but we'd expect that efficiency from Belichick and Caserio, who have drafting together for the last 20 years.

Here's an updated list of the Patriots' draft picks entering Day 2 of the draft, and here's a rundown of the best players available whom they could target.

What has the Patriots' pre-draft process been like? Nick Caserio explains

What has the Patriots' pre-draft process been like? Nick Caserio explains

When the 2020 NFL Draft gets underway Thursday evening, it won't look anything like any draft in recent memory.

Instead of Roger Goodell announcing picks from the stage at Radio City Music Hall, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, or Nashville, he'll be doing so from his own basement. And instead of teams deciding which player to select from their own war rooms at team facilities, team personnel will be scattered in their own homes. 

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Such is life while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected how teams have prepared for the draft as well. Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio detailed the challenges the Patriots have been dealing with in a conversation with Patriots.com's Megan O'Brien Thursday morning.

“Our team has done a great job. There’s a lot of people that have enabled us to have the daily production that we’ve had. We’ve had a number of draft meetings. I would say on a daily basis we’ve had a lot of discussions, a lot of dialogue. So instead of doing it live with one another, we’ve just been doing it through our connection," Caserio said.

“We’re able to get to a number of people. We’ve had a lot of different contact with a lot of different players, so we’ve tried to replicate our process as best we can into the setting we’re dealing with and just try and make the most of our opportunities that are in front of us each day, and really take it one day at a time. I would say we’ve been able to accumulate a lot of information, or a similar amount of information, we’re just doing it in a different fashion."

Even if the team has been able to roll with the punches during the pre-draft scouting process, how will they know what to expect when the Bengals go on the clock Thursday night as the draft gets underway? That's an entirely new challenge.

"We're trying to replicate our draft room process in a virtual fashion," Caserio explained. "We've done a few trial runs recently in terms of how the draft communication is going to work... Working through some of those intricacies has probably been the biggest thing."

Luckily for the Patriots, Caserio and Belichick have served alongside each other in their current roles since 2008, with Caserio joining the organization in 2001. And Caserio says that familiarity will hopefully pay dividends now.

"We have a lot of experience working together. Whether or not that actually helps us on draft day, it'll be a little bit different, but I think there's an understanding of how we need to operate," Caserio said. "The biggest thing is making sure that we're communicating clearly and we get the information processed and submitted to the league in a timely fashion."

The Patriots enter the 2020 NFL Draft with a dozen selections, but with Bill Belichick's penchant for draft day trades, there should be a lot of virtual wheeling and dealing for the Patriots to navigate over the next 72 hours.