Packers' wunderkind Eliot Wolf could extend father's winning legacy
GREEN BAY – Remove the last name. Ignore the bloodlines. There is no doubt Ron Wolf opened doors for his son, but the NFL doesn’t operate business on sentimentality.
You’re left with a scout who has evaluated NFL players for 25 years. An executive who has received four promotions in the past six years. A general manager candidate who has gotten more than one serious look for vacancies around the league in the past 12 months.
You’re also left with a 35-year-old born the same year as last season’s starting right guard. A wunderkind, perhaps, but someone who would become the youngest general manager in the league – by several years.
Put together, you understand why Eliot Wolf is both a serious contender to be the Packers' next general manager, but also not an obvious choice despite being the son of the man who resurrected the franchise in the early 1990s.
Here are 10 things to know about Eliot Wolf.
1. Son of a Hall of Famer: More than any other, the Wolf name has been an umbrella covering all Packers football operations for almost three decades. Eliot Wolf’s father, Ron Wolf, is the former Packers GM who traded for Brett Favre in 1992, sparking one of the longest runs of franchise contention in NFL history. The Packers have won two Super Bowls since Ron Wolf arrived in 1991. Eliot Wolf had a front-row seat while his father turned the Packers into a winner.
2. Presenter of a Hall of Famer: Eliot Wolf also had a front-row seat in Canton three summers ago. He presented his father when Ron Wolf was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August of 2015.
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3. Titletown roots: Eliot Wolf, born March 21, 1982 in Oakland, Calif., was 9 when his father arrived in Green Bay. He has lived in Brown County ever since, except 3 1/2 years when he went south to attend college at the University of Miami. Wolf was a 2000 graduate of Notre Dame Academy. He resides in De Pere.
4. College years: While at Miami, Wolf earned a B.A. degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing. He also volunteered in the football office’s recruiting department. Wolf was on campus when coach Larry Coker led the Hurricanes to a national title in 2001.
5. The wunderkind: At age 35, Wolf would be the oldest player on the Packers' roster, but not by much. Right guard Jahri Evans, also born in 1982, is only five months younger than Wolf. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is only 21 months younger. What he lacks in years, Wolf makes up for with NFL experience. He has spent most of his life evaluating NFL players. According to his bio on the Packers’ website, Wolf has been watching film with his father since he was 10. He wrote his first scouting report at age 14 for the Atlanta Falcons.
6. Man of many promotions: Wolf graduated college one semester early so he could join the Packers' personnel department before the 2004 draft. He was hired by Mike Sherman as a pro personnel assistant, the same job Seattle Seahawks GM John Schneider and Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie started in with the Packers. Since then, he frequently has been promoted. Wolf became the Packers’ assistant director of pro personnel in 2008. He became the assistant director of player personnel in 2011, was promoted to director of pro personnel one year later, and in 2013 became the director of player personnel. Wolf now works as the Packers' director-football operations, a role he was promoted to following the 2015 season.
7. Scouting-driven duties: According to the team website, Wolf’s responsibilities as director-football operations include coordinating the pro and college football departments, as well as handling college and pro player evaluations. He oversees advance scouting during the season, evaluates potential free-agent targets and recommends player tryouts. It’s a scouting background similar to his father’s.
8. No stranger to interviews: Wolf has been a hot name around the NFL when GM positions have opened. In the past year, he has interviewed for the Indianapolis Colts' opening as well as with the San Francisco 49ers. The Packers blocked him from interviewing with the Detroit Lions one year earlier.
9. Batting leadoff: Wolf was first to interview for the Packers' GM job vacated by Ted Thompson's shift into a senior adviser role. He would be the NFL’s youngest general manager, and substantially younger than his father when he came to Green Bay. The Packers hired Ron Wolf when he was 53.
10. Backup plans: It’s uncertain whether Eliot Wolf would stay with the Packers if not hired as the next GM. This would be the dream job for Wolf, the chance to continue his father’s legacy. But the Packers have had only three general managers since Ron Wolf arrived in 1991. If he’s passed over now, Eliot Wolf would know not to expect the GM job to open in Green Bay for some time. Perhaps he would decide it’s time to join another organization. One possibility could be GM John Dorsey’s staff in Cleveland. It’s a move longtime Packers senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith made earlier this week.