FOXBORO — The New England Patriots are adding some veteran insight to their defensive coaching staff for 2024.
Just two days removed from hiring four-time team captain Dont’a Hightower as linebackers coach, the Pats, per a Sunday morning report from NFL Network, are reportedly bringing aboard longtime defensive assistant coach Drew Wilkins to help guide the positional group.
With Wilkins expected to coach New England’s outside linebackers, Hightower will likely focus his efforts on the inside.
Wilkins began his NFL coaching career in 2010 with the Baltimore Ravens — first as member of the video staff, followed by a staff coordinator role. The Doylestown, PA native transitioned to the sidelines in 2014 as a defensive assistant. He was promoted to assistant defensive line coach in 2017, while assisting with the outside linebackers the following season. Starting in 2020, worked exclusively the Baltimore’s outside linebackers, working closely with then-Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale.
Perhaps most notably, Wilkins helped coach former Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon to two Pro Bowl appearances during his tenure in Baltimore. Wilkins is now set to reunite with Judon in New England this season.
After 12 seasons in Baltimore, Wilkins joined Martindale in East Rutherford in 2022, when the latter accepted the defensive coordinator position with the New York Giants. He as Giants outside linebackers coach through the end of 2023, when Martindale and the Giants mutually agreed to part ways. Wilkins was relieved of his duties, as well.
Despite reportedly being considered for “high-level” positions at the college level, Wilkins has decided to stay in the NFL and join the Patriots. Logistically, he succeeds former outside linebackers coach Steve Belichick — son of legendary former Pats coach Bill Belichick — following his accepting the defensive coordinator position at the University of Washington.
In addition to Hightower, he will join new defensive coordinator DeMarcus Covington, defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery, safeties coach Brian Belichick and cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino on the defensive staff of new head coach Jerod Mayo.