For the final time in his career, Ernie Adams has guided the New England Patriots through the NFL Draft.
With the final selection of the 2021 NFL Draft made, Adams is heading off into retirement. The Patriots' official "Football Research Director" has been with the team in that role since 2000, and has been partially responsible for the team's sustained success over their two-decade-long dynasty.
Needless to say, Bill Belichick is a fan of Adams' work. And after the draft, he took some time to acknowledge what Adams has meant to the Patriots.
Belichick isn't usually this effusive in his praise, so clearly, he has quite a lot of respect for Adams and the role he has played in the organization's success. And putting the spotlight on the long-time executive is a very decent parting gesture from the long-time Patriots head coach.
It's unclear how the Patriots will plan to replace Adams. Belichick confirmed that Adams has been involved in every part of the scouting process, including but not limited to "grading players, scouting players, setting up a grading scale, trading" and more, so the team will probably have to have someone fill that role be it internally or externally.
Throughout most of the draft process, the four-man team of Dave Ziegler, Eliot Wolf, Matt Patricia, and Matt Groh were seen as key decision-makers in the room for Belichick. The Patriots will likely continue to trust that five-man group moving forward, so it will be interesting to see if any earn a promotion after Adams' departure.