Whenever a team is looking to rebuild a franchise, their fans -- like moths drawn to a light -- seek out the latest, up-and-coming mind from the New England Patriots' front office. Nick Caserio has been that guy for the last few offseasons, but is he different than all of the other Patriots' castoffs who failed to recreate Patriots Magic in another destination? Let's take a closer look at his career.
Caserio didn't have much of a football career before joining the Patriots. He had spent just two seasons as a graduate assistant at Saginaw Valley State before spending the spring of 2001 with Central Michigan. But before the year was up, he was snatched up by then general manager Scott Pioli to join New England where he would enjoy wild success over the next 14 years.
Bill Belichick has grown notoriety for using his players like utilities, serving multiple purposes and filling any hole that is asked of him. The Patriots have used Caserio in the same vein. In his long career with the Patriots, Caserio has served as a personnel assistant, a coaching assistant, an area scout, a director of pro personnel and even strangely a wide receiver coach for one season.
Since 2008, Caserio has been the team's director of player personnel. Caserio's experience in nearly each facet of running a team has helped him succeed as the No. 2 personnel guy behind Belichick. Back in 2014, Patriots president Jonathan Kraft said, "Nick doesn't get enough credit for what happens here." Of course, "what happens here" is nearly two decades of consistent success. The Patriots' have been the NFL's most dominant franchise during Caserio's tenure, and by most accounts, he deserves a good chunk of the credit.
It's hard nail down any specific accomplishments from Caserio, since the Patriots are notoriously secretive in their behind-the-doors operations. But Caserio has spent 12 years working in the personnel department and three seasons as part of the coaching staff during a wildly successful run for the franchise.
Caserio is a rare candidate that has experience at nearly every level of an NFL franchise and all before the age of 40. Belichick has entrusted Caserio to many roles, which cannot be viewed as anything but a good sign.
Several members of the Patriots organization have tried their hand elsewhere and they have almost unanimously failed in their attempts to recreate success.
Also, it would require a lot of patience for the Lions to hook Caserio. Though the Lions can interview him whenever they'd like (given the Patriots grant permission), they likely won't be able to hire him until the Patriots' season is over, which could last all the way until February. If the Lions wait that long, they'll likely miss out on some head coaching candidates.
However, the biggest hurdle to getting Caserio in Detroit may be his availability. Back in January 2014, the Miami Dolphins interviewed Caserio twice for the general manager position. He eventually turned down the job and signed an extension with the Patriots through 2020 at the end of the year.
Fear of Patriots Magic wearing off of Caserio in a different destination seems unwarranted. Caserio has built his career on being versatile, successful and understanding of every level of football management.
If the Lions were to make this hire, it would undoubtedly transform the entire franchise. According to some reports, Caserio turned down the Miami job because they would not let him touch the coaching staff when he wanted to part ways with Joe Philbin. Hiring Caserio would likely result in a complete overhaul of the coaching and scouting staff, which is just the organizational blowup that many fans are begging for and that several reporters were speculating about.
But Caserio seems like another candidate that is just a pipe dream for fans. After signing his extension in 2014, Caserio said the following:
"I like being here. I like winning. I enjoy my role. I have plenty of responsibility, and I enjoy being part of a winning culture, a winning organization."
That's going to make the Detroit Lions a hard sell.