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During the 2021 draft process, there seemed to be more attention on the Patriots scouting personnel than in recent years. With Nick Caserio leaving for Houston, names like Dave Ziegler, Eliot Wolf, and Matt Groh seemed to pop up more and more, and were linked to relatively big events such as elite quarterback pro days.

That group continues to evolve ahead of the 2022 draft cycle. On Tuesday, Inside the League’s Neil Stratton reported the team has hired Matt Evans as an area scout. Stratton has spent the past eight seasons in a similar role with the Washington Football Team.

With the Patriots, Evans is expected to focus on the Southeast region, according to Stratton. Given the Patriots’ recent focus on the SEC, this should be viewed as an important position. Seven of the Patriots’ last 10 top-60 draft picks have come from SEC schools. His area could also contain some of the top ACC programs, such as Clemson and UNC.

Joining the Patriots’ front office is somewhat of a homecoming for Evans, who grew up in Hanover, Mass. He played college football at UNH, where he was a four-year starter at linebacker. In 2011, he was named National Defensive Player of the Year, and the Wildcats retired his number 52 in 2013. He even spent the following spring in minicamp with the Patriots as a UDFA, but wasn’t brought back for training camp.

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.