Focusing on changes in personnel dept.

Two graduates of Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., are moving up the ranks in the New England Patriots personnel department, as Kyle O'Brien has been promoted from area scout to national scout, and Brian Smith is now assistant director of college scouting after serving the last three seasons as a pro scout.

Those were two of the notable 2010 changes the Patriots have made in their personnel department, which is led by Nick Caserio, who is now in his third season as director of player personnel.

O'Brien and Smith have worked their way up the Patriots' scouting ladder, serving a variety of roles. Their progression reflects how Bill Belichick often likes to hire young scouts, teaching them New England system-specific scouting while exposing them to various aspects of personnel early in their careers.

O'Brien, a native of Garden City, N.Y. who attended Phillips Academy and then Harvard, originally joined the Patriots as a personnel intern in 2000. He was hired full-time in 2002 as a scouting assistant, and served as a pro scout from 2004-2005. He has served as an area scout for six seasons.

Smith, a native of Marathon, Florida who attended Phillips Academy and then Providence College, originally joined the Patriots in 2000 and assisted the coaching staff for his first four seasons. He was then the team's director of operations from 2004-2005, before serving as a special assignment scout in 2006 and a pro scout from 2007-2009.

In addition to O'Brien and Smith assuming new positions, the Patriots made a few other changes in their personnel department.

Frank Edgerly, who served as a pro scout in 2009, is now an area college scout.

Patrick Stewart, who served as an area college scout in 2009, is now a pro scout.

Trey Brown and Ronnie McGill were hired as scouting assistants.