FOXBORO -- Through the month of March it's not unusual to see Bill Belichick chatting up coaches or tapping away at his laptop during college pro days. But he's not the only Patriots coach on the scouting trail during the pre-draft process.
The organization takes an all-hands-on-deck approach this time of year as it tries to gather as much information as possible on available prospects. Director of player personnel Nick Caserio, college scouting director Monti Ossenfort and their college scouts handle the heavy lifting, and they get a hand from pro scouting director Dave Ziegler and his staff at this time of year. The coaches on the staff typically chip in as well, working out players, attending pro days themselves, interviewing potential Patriots.
But this year has been different.
"Probably a little less than normal," Belichick acknowledged. "Doing it, but less activity for the coaching staff."
The reasons are obvious. There's been a significant amount of turnover from the 2018 coaching staff to this year's. Linebackers coach and defensive play-caller Brian Flores took the head job in Miami and took receivers coach Chad O'Shea, assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski and corners coach Josh Boyer with him. Defensive line coach Brendan Daly moved on to a position with the Chiefs. And one of the team's new coaches, Greg Schiano, who was with the Patriots during this year's combine, has already stepped down from his position with the team.
With new faces taking over new position groups -- though promotions and specific job titles have not yet been announced -- the Patriots coaching staff's presence on the scouting trail has been less noticeable.
"We're not talking about an unprecedented event here," Belichick said. "We've dealt with changes before. We'll deal with them."
To be sure, Patriots coaches have still been out and about. Both Dante Scarnecchia and coaching assistant DeMarcus Covington were front and center while working with players at Boston College's pro day. It's just not to the same extent across the coaching staff.
Whittling down the list of prospects from thousands, as Belichick explained Wednesday, to a draft board of about 100 is exhausting work. Every little bit helps. But with a number of coaching changes to sort through, the amount of help coming from the coaching staff isn't the same as it's been in years past.
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