The roster of personnel people who spent time in New England has grown immensely over the years, and Houston general manager Nick Caserio is quite appreciate of his formative years spent in Foxborough.
Caserio is entering his second season as the Texans GM and although he is in Indianapolis to check out the latest crop of college prospects he also took time to discuss some of the people he once worked with who are moving up to different and larger roles in 2022.
One such individual is here in Foxborough as Matt Groh recently ascended to a position Caserio once held as the director of player personnel of the Patriots. Groh takes over for Dave Ziegler, who left New England last month to become general manager of the Las Vegas Raiders to join Josh McDaniels in the desert.
Caserio was asked his thoughts on Groh and recalled a time many years ago when the youngster was working at the University of Virginia under his father, head coach Al Groh.
"Matt has a unique background," Caserio recalled. "My first recollection of Matt was the year Chris Long came out in the draft (2008). At the time Al was at Virginia and we actually flew in to work Chris out and Matt picked us up at the airport. He obviously had a career in mind and certain aspirations to transition into football and I'd say it's fairly rare.
"He started in the same role I started in when I was in New England in 2001 as a scouting assistant. Matt is really smart, he works hard and he has a good grasp of players and a good understanding of football. He's been around football for a long time whether it's his dad or his brother Mike (wide receivers coach for the Giants), so he's been around the game. His growth and development is really a credit to his work ethic and his intelligence. I think a lot of people in the building in New England have a lot of confidence in Matt and what he's capable of doing. So, I'm really happy for him and the opportunity he has in front of him."
Caserio also took some time to discuss a pair of his former college teammates at John Carroll University – McDaniels and Ziegler. Asked specifically about Ziegler's ascension, Caserio spoke glowingly about the pair and how they will work together in Las Vegas.
"I think they'll do an awesome job. My relationship with Dave and Josh goes back a long way,' Caserio began. "I've known Josh since 1995 and then Dave came to John Carroll in 1996. Both are great people, they were great players and both have been very successful in the league to this point.
"I would say Dave is very smart. He's got a very wide-ranging background with a lot of diversity in terms of experience whether it's working in Denver when Josh was there, he worked at Iona, he's taught, he's worked in high school. So, I think his ability to connect with people and see things through a different lens is something that is unique to Dave.
"Academically he's always done very well – I think he was an Academic All-American at John Carroll – so that speaks to his intelligence and work ethic. Their relationship – when you have two people who speak the same language – I think it's beneficial to everyone involved. I'm rooting for them and happy that both of them have the opportunity. They deserve it."