Raised by Wolf: Scouting legacy leading Patriots into new era

INDIANAPOLIS -- Eliot Wolf attended his first combine 31 years ago as one of the easiest faces to identify.The 10-year-old son of Packers general manager Ron Wolf is back at the NFL Scouting Combin

Raised by Wolf: Scouting legacy leading Patriots into new era

INDIANAPOLIS — Eliot Wolf attended his first combine 31 years ago as one of the easiest faces to identify.

The 10-year-old son of Packers general manager Ron Wolf is back at the NFL Scouting Combine this week running the personnel department of an NFL team for the first time. Wolf is director of scouting for the New England Patriots, ushered in alongside new head coach Jerod Mayo in the changing of the guard sparked by Bill Belichick’s exit.

“My dad used to sit down at the start of the 40s and it was him, Bill Parcells and Al Davis and I just sitting there like soaking it all up,” Eliot Wolf said Tuesday at his 30th combine (the 2021 event was called off due to COVID-19). “It was just tremendously rewarding. And, you know, kind of as I look back on it, it was you know definitely a special time.”

The elder Wolf, 84, and Belichick have been associates for decades dating to Belichick’s father coaching at Navy.

A scouting legend with the Raiders and Packers in his heyday who is enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Ron Wolf attended training camp at Belichick’s request, even in recent summers, to advise on roster decisions and position competition.

Belichick worked as coach but also wielded final say in personnel decisions, including the draft. One of the voices he called on most in recent years was Eliot Wolf, who had the same title as a scout with a diverse role under Belichick.

Not only is Wolf following an all-time great, the 41-year-old holds the cards with New England’s first top-10 pick since drafting Mayo — a linebacker at Tennessee — in 2008.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft didn’t knock down expectations or conjecture in labeling the 2024 draft the “most important in team history.”

New England picks No. 3 in the first round and doesn’t have a franchise quarterback in the building at the moment. While much has changed, his Ron Wolf made this kind of call — he acquired Brett Favre from the Atlanta Falcons and drafted Matt Hasselbeck, Mark Brunell and Aaron Brooks as backups while in Green Bay — there are hints in the draft history books.

Eliot Wolf said his father passed down many lessons that will prepare him to be ready for draft day.

“I think in terms of scouting itself, it just kind of trust what you see and believe in it. But also really lessons about people,” he said. “I still believe and this is great to be able to work with Jerod who also believes this is a people business and it’s about developing people. And the culture is created from the people in your building, whether that scouts coaches players support staff and I think that’s tremendously important as you try to build the culture that you want.”

While diagramming the Patriots’ path forward under Mayo comes with a status level Eliot Wolf hadn’t yet achieved in the NFL, he’s still a relative pup by general manager standards. That will still expose him to the type of good-natured ribbing even his old man would appreciate.

A former Packers scout under Wolf and Ted Thompson, current Seahawks general manager John Schneider said Tuesday he was already feeling his “over-50” age before the questions about Wolf started.

“I used to babysit him! Thanks a lot – I appreciate that,” a smirking Schneider said. “He was always around us; he was always in the draft room with us. He was always sitting in our offices, always taking as much information as he possibly could, always had very strong opinions. If you ask him, I’m sure he was All-Conference, but I don’t know if he ever played a down for the high school… little dig there, Eliot.

“He was just really into it, and we hired him back – he went to Miami, went to school there, and worked in their scouting department. One of those first jobs that really ever existed. He went down there and came back. Reggie {McKenzie} and John Dorsey and Ted Thompson and myself hired him back, and he just took off. I haven’t had a chance to talk to him, but I’m happy everything’s turned out for him.”