PATRIOTS DIRECTOR OF PLAYER PERSONNEL MATT GROH
VIDEO PRESS CONFERENCE
April 29, 2022
Q: When it comes to value, which I think we talk about a lot in New England, what is your response to those who might say with Cole and Tyquan, just the idea of -- like were they overdrafted? Could you have waited and maybe got them later?
MG: Yeah, I think that's really easy for people to say. Nobody knows what the teams are going to do behind you. When you come back up you don't want to miss out on a player. I think it's very easy. Sometimes you hear why -- and not just in football -- why did they trade for this guy? This team gave a second. Why didn't we give a second? If they had just given it -- well, if the other team's second is better than your second, then you're having to give up a one. It's not all so cut and dry with where you think a guy is going to go, and you've got to look at what the rest of the board is telling you. If you value a player high enough, then you want that player to be a part of your team.
That's certainly how we feel about Cole. We're really excited to have Cole aboard. You want to talk about value, the guy started at three positions on the offensive line. I think it's kind of easy to pigeonhole him as a guard. He does a lot. This guy is really tough. He's really smart. He's almost 6'5", 300 pounds, and runs sub-5 seconds in the 40. There's not a lot of humans out there that are doing that, benched 225, 31 times. This is a really big, strong, tough, athletic guy. If you value toughness, which we do, you value guys like Cole Strange.
Q: Just to pick up on your description of Cole, one of the questions that I had coming out of last night regarding versatility, most of the people talk about him and write about him as a guard/center. Given his length and his athleticism, how much potential is there, if there is any, to move outside at some point in his career? Could you foresee at least giving him a look down the road, if not this season?
MG: Yeah, we'll see how it plays out. He's just going to have to come in here and compete. It's a challenge for these guys just to learn one spot, so let's just get him in here and give him a chance to get his feet wet and see how he goes from there.
Q: Just a quick question about Tyquan, as well. A lot of times when people talk about the Patriots and times, they talk about the three-cone drill, and here is a guy with exceptional speed obviously in the 40. With a trait like that that's so exceptional, does that cause you to kind of rethink some of those other measurables? Or do you look at every player differently and say, this is how he'll fit with us down the road, so to speak?
MG: We take it all in and we consider it all. Number one thing is you've got to consider what the player does and how the player is going to help you. You want to get faster. Just like if you want to get tougher, you'd better get tough guys. You want to get faster, you'd better get fast guys. I don't know how many guys out there are faster than Tyquan. So, we're really excited to be able to add him and his explosive play making. He is fast. To be able to get some toughness and some athleticism on the first night, and I think these other two guys, Tyquan and Marcus Jones, they're certainly tough guys, too, but at their positions, at the skill positions, they are fast.
Q: With Tyquan, what did you guys learn about him throughout the draft process that made you feel comfortable with taking him at 50th overall and just sort of how did he separate himself from the other receivers on the board?
MG: Yeah, you know, we've been working on these guys for a long time, from the area scouts, you know, Alex Brooks is in Texas, and we've got two great players from the state of Texas. He certainly was on top of these guys early. Knew a lot about them with their familiarity with both the Baylor and the Houston programs. And then just to get a comfort level with Tyquan at the All-Star Game, really get to know him as a person and really start to dig on just his football intelligence, it was really beneficial the time that we were able to spend with him and see all the things that he has the potential to do to help our team.
Q: I wanted to ask you about Tyquan again. He seemed at least physically to be a departure from the prototype you guys have followed for a long time at receiver. I'm wondering either what made Tyquan individually worthy of being an exception, or what about your prototype might have changed where you're valuing things a little bit differently at that position?
MG: Yeah, I don't exactly know what the prototype is. I haven't been here that long. But I'd say a guy -- two guys who have played together, both played the position, a little bit differently, but I don't think Randy Moss really looks a whole lot like Wes Welker, but they're both good players and they both have really good skill sets. So, we've really just got to focus on the skill set and how it's going to apply to what we want to do offensively at that position. Yeah, he's a little bit longer, a little bit leaner, but with his speed, he can certainly open some things up for us offensively.
Q: I wanted to ask you about Marcus. He's a guy who kind of wore a lot of hats at Houston, playing inside, outside, punt return, kick return, even some offense. How do you see him kind of fitting into what you guys like to do?
MG: It goes to a little bit of what I was talking about with Cole and where he was able to start at center and guard, tackle in his college career, and Marcus has done even more you could say since he's been on both sides of the ball, primarily at corner, inside, outside, even with his play making ability, trying to get the ball in his hands. You're talking about a team in Houston that's been -- Coach Holgorsen has had really good teams there and been able to put up a lot of points, and this guy was dynamic enough that they take one of their best players on defense and put him on offense, and then they put him back there on punt returns and kick returns. Really excited to have two picks here tonight and add speed to really all three phases of the team. Tyquan on offense and then Marcus on defense and special teams. We'll see what Tyquan can contribute on fourth down, as well.
Q: I wanted to ask you about Tyquan, as well. Obviously, we know he's got the speed and ability to get down the field, but what do you see from him at the top of the route and through the break point and his technique in that vein?
MG: Yeah, good question, and I think it even starts before that with his release. This isn't just a linear guy. You see him really be able to get off the line. And for as fast as he is -- I'm sure you guys are all grinding film on Tyquan and Marcus -- to be able to see him get in the red zone and do some things, and it's not just speed, it's 6'2", ability to get up and really pluck the ball out of the air. So, there's going to be a lot of different things that he's going to be able to do to help.
Q: Just wanted to ask you just in general, this is your first time in this role, how has the last couple days gone for you? How much of a departure was your role in maybe your input on the process, how much different was it than last year? Just tell us about the last couple days.
MG: Yeah, I'd say last year was definitely new. This year is very similar to what last year was. Working with Dave and Eliot last year, and this year working with Eliot Wolf and Cam Williams here this year.
So, it hasn't been a huge departure from what it was last year, which that was a big departure from what it was a year before sitting in my basement trying to follow along with what everything was. Kind of looks like I was right where you are right now.
Q: It seems like from the way you're talking about these guys, you obviously have a lot of conviction about these players. Would you say that you had a lot of input that Bill -- the process was collaborative as far as reaching a consensus on these picks?
MG: That's the word. It's collaborative. We've been putting in a lot of hours as a large group, dwindling that down to a smaller group. But it's a group, and we're all working together trying to see the differences, respect each other's differences, if those differences are really going to hinder the player from having a role on our team, and it's been great to have players where we're on a consensus opinion.
All these guys are going to have to come in here and work, and it's a big transition for anybody coming into a new program, coming into our program, whether that's a free agent, but especially here these rookies as they're becoming professionals. So, we're really excited to have these three guys, and they're going to have to get to work. Now it's up to them. We're going to give them the resources and the coaching and the tutelage and everything we can do to put them in position, but it's really going to be up to them to kind of make or break their careers.
Q: First three picks here, no linebacker just yet. I know you have a ton of picks left on day one, but I'm curious if you could assess the current group of linebackers that you have on the roster. I know you've invested some picks in recent years and what you think of that group as a whole as it stands.
MG: Yeah, really excited about that group. Excited to see Cam McGrone was able to get on the field a little bit last year, excited to see him be in an expanded role. He's kind of an additional draft pick. You can kind of put him along there with the three guys that we've been able to add here today along with some of the other guys from last year. That all kind of counts to getting younger, getting faster, being a tough team. So being able to add Mack Wilson, I know a lot was going on in free agency, and it was a trade and not a signing, but I think that was a really important part of adding some depth to the linebacking corps along with being able to get Ja'Whaun Bentley back. Really excited to have him and his experience, as well. I think we've got a lot of names there and a lot of experience, and mix in some youth, so I think it's a good group.
Q: Just wanted to ask you about the process on day three and how much different is that for you guys where you had so many picks but it's in such a crammed amount of time? How quickly does the process go tomorrow?
MG: We'll get organized and we're going to have to be ready to go. I think we're maybe 15th pick tomorrow, and a couple others right there in succession, not too far behind. The clock is moving with five minutes in between, and you've really got to be prepared for trades, which I think we did a great job tonight of trying to be on top of those things with everybody in the room working, contacting different teams and fielding the calls that teams were putting out to us. It's really with the clock at five minutes, you've got to be really organized. You've got to take a good hard look at the board and see where you can best help your team. But it'll move quickly here for sure in the fourth round.