Nick Caserio

Why Patriots' Nick Caserio is on board with new NFL Combine limitation

Why Patriots' Nick Caserio is on board with new NFL Combine limitation

NFL teams have 15 fewer formal opportunities to speak to players at the 2020 NFL Combine -- and Nick Caserio is all for it.

The league informed clubs ahead of this year's combine that they will be granted up to 45 18-minute interviews with prospects, down from the standard 60 interviews of 15 minutes each.

So, why is Caserio excited about interviewing fewer players? Shouldn't the New England Patriots director of player personnel want to meet with as many prospects as possible?

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Here's Caserio explaining to Patriots.com's Megan O'Brien why he's on board with the change.

"When you actually talk to the players, it can be the Wild West," Caserio said. "You grab them in the hallway, you can have 15 to 20 players in the room at one time, and it's a push-pull. I was one of those people grabbing players when I was a scouting assistant."

After trimming the interview number to 45, Caserio noticed, the process is "a lot more orderly, a lot more structured, a lot more streamlined, and I think it makes it a lot easier. In all fairness, it gives every team the same opportunity, as opposed to the way it used to be."

Two more reasons why Caserio doesn't mind the change? The Patriots and other teams still have plenty of informal meetings with prospects -- and their formal meetings don't influence their draft strategy all that much.

Caserio and his New England staff still are plenty busy -- according to our count, they've already spoken to nearly 30 players in Indianapolis since the Combine began Monday.

That's all part of the Patriots' due diligence between now and the 2020 NFL Draft, when they'll decide what to do with their wealth of selections.

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Patriots, Nick Caserio agree to multi-year extension

Patriots, Nick Caserio agree to multi-year extension

The New England Patriots made a big move on Wednesday afternoon to keep one of their key free agents.

That's right, Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio is staying in New England.

According to reports confirmed by our own Phil Perry, Caserio will be returning to the Patriots after agreeing to a contract extension. His deal was set to expire after the 2020 NFL Draft, but his new contract is expected to be a multi-year pact.

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There had been previous rumblings that the Houston Texans had an interest in hiring Caserio. But after they promoted Bill O'Brien to full-time coach/GM, that possibility evaporated. And Caserio has returned.

Of course, Caserio isn't the No. 1 target that Patriots fans are focusing on this offseason. That would surely be Tom Brady, who is set to be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his 20-year career.

Nonetheless, retaining Caserio seems like a positive move. He has been with the Patriots for 19 years and since his 2008 promotion to Director of Player Personnel, he has been Bill Belichick's right-hand man. 

And as Tom E. Curran said Wednesday on NBC Sports Boston's Arbella Early Edition: "[Caserio] is more valuable to the New England Patriots with all the hats he wears than he is to anybody else."

Bert Breer of The MMQB agreed with Curran's assessment and also provided additional details on why retaining Caserio was so important for the Patriots.

"This is a big win for the Patriots because if you look at where they were from a front office perspective, [Caserio] is not the only guy who was up [for a new deal]," Breer said. "Monti Ossenfort, the college scouting director, is also up after the draft this year. They stood to lose two of the top three personnel guys in the building. That's a major amount of turnover."

But by keeping Caserio, they avoid that turnover. And now, they will retain the continuity that many NFL teams strive for but so few achieve.

Texans' moves with Bill O'Brien, Jack Easterby likely close door on Patriots' Nick Caserio to Houston

Texans' moves with Bill O'Brien, Jack Easterby likely close door on Patriots' Nick Caserio to Houston

It appears the Houston Texans' pursuit of Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio, which led to New England filing tampering charges against Houston last offseason, is over.

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The Texans have promoted coach Bill O'Brien to general manager and Jack Easterby, the former character coach with the Patriots, has been given the title of executive vice president of football operations.

The Texans operated without an official GM last season after they sought Caserio for the vacant position. The Patriots reportedly used photos and video of Easterby, who had been the Patriots character coach for six seasons, interacting with Caserio at the Super Bowl ring ceremony in June, as evidence of tampering.

The tampering charges were dropped a few days later after Houston withdrew its pursuit of Caserio, New England's director of player personnel since 2008, whose contract is up after the 2020 NFL Draft.