Jerod Mayo, Eliot Wolf hope drafting Drake Maye leads New England Patriots into next era of success

Together, Glaser said, they wanted to highlight what Mayo wanted the team to represent. In particular, an asterisk is incorporated into each sentence, highlighting a key word: we work and pay together. The asterisk symbolizes the North Star, because, as Glaser said, the North Star “is constantly moving, but it’s something we’re always looking for.” This is another central idea for the team.

One day, Mayo decided the back wall needed art – something unique and personal. Glaser, the highest-ranking woman ever in the Patriots organization, exploited her relationship with Rob “ProBlak” Gibbs, a black Boston native who is a visual artist and organizer, by entrusting her with creation of the mural. The result is a grand, colorful piece that prominently features a young black child in a football uniform, watching Mayo and other Patriots legends in uniform, imagining he could be like them one day.

“Diversity matters on our staff, black and white, young and old, former players and non-players. The mental health of players matters. Relationships with players matter,” said Mayo, the first head coach black in Patriots history. “People matter. What you stand for matters. You have to work for it and build it.”

Despite the significant changes in the Patriots building, the level of respect for Belichick is still immense: the team has his photo on a wall along with other notable coaches, executives and scouts who have left a huge mark in New York. England. Mayo, who played for Belichick and served as an assistant on his staff, will certainly rely on similar principles; he thanked the legendary coach for allowing assistant coaches like him to evaluate and write reports on draft prospects early, in order to gain experience.

But this is Mayo’s team. The most important part of his approach to leading this group, he says, is showing “warmth before confidence.”

“You gotta show these guys you care,” Mayo told me. “It’s different from the days when you expected them to just do what you say. You have to show them that you care about them as a man, as a father, before you even start talking about X’s and Os’ Once you have built that with the players you can be hard on them But not before, I coach for love and my staff will be too.

Mayo’s leadership style and culture have left an imprint on the people it touches. Many people, from Wolf to Glaser to his coaches and players, have raved about these facets of him.

“(Owner Robert) Kraft couldn’t have chosen a better leader after legendary coach BB left. Mayo is the one,” Patriots defensive tackle Davon Godchaux told me via text over the weekend. “Once we get this offense going, we’ll be back in playoff mode and hopefully beyond. It’s still going to be a top-notch defense, if not the best.”

A handful of changes that have become evident this offseason under Mayo and Wolf:

  1. Maye received his No. 10 jersey in his Patriots debut on Friday. Rookies are no longer required to “earn” their numbers, starting with numbers in the 50s before the season, as they did in Belichick’s era.
  2. Maye revealed there was a mini basketball hoop in the Patriots locker room during his pre-draft visit. He wasn’t around in recent years before Mayo took over.
  3. Wolf opened the draft room door to any scouts or coaches who wanted to join last weekend. An extremely large group did it. Previously, the Patriots draft room included only a very small group of invited scouts and executives.
  4. Wolf, with the help of senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith, tweaked the team’s scoring system, influenced by Wolf and Highsmith’s past history in the Green Bay Packers front office. Simply put, they are working with a more traditional, value-based board versus the fit-based board of the Belichick era. The Patriots 2024 board of directors had about 200 players, according to a source. Previously, the Patriots regularly had between 125 and 150 players on their draft board, a much smaller number than many other teams.

Wolf was not given the official title of general manager, but he assumed most of the duties a general manager is typically in charge of, controlling the 53-man roster and making final decisions, such as selecting players.

The son of former Packers general manager (and Hall of Famer) Ron Wolf, Eliot Wolf has been writing scouting reports since he was a child. He was groomed for this position, and with the support of highly respected front office executives and scouting directors, including Matt Groh, Highsmith, Camren Williams, Patrick Stewart and Brian Smith, Wolf and the Patriots were ready for this moment.

Wolf, 42, spent 14 years with the Packers to begin his career, including two as assistant general manager of the Cleveland Browns and the last four seasons with the Patriots front office. In his first months in charge this year, Wolf outlined his offseason goal of “weaponizing the offense,” a unit that finished in the bottom three in yards and points last year. The result: New England’s first five 2024 draft picks, and seven of eight overall, were used on offensive players. The draft was led by Maye, but the Patriots aimed to intentionally support their QB by providing him with substantial resources to succeed. This is something New England has failed to do effectively over the last three drafts to back up 2021 first-round pick Mac Jones, who is now a backup QB in Jacksonville.

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