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Does hiring of Paul DePodesta lead to Matt Patricia?

The Cleveland Browns' hiring of Paul DePodesta continues to prompt chatter around the NFL and Major League Baseball.

DePodesta is a Harvard-educated man of interesting approaches who spent the past 19 years in baseball, most recently with the New York Mets. He's also an analytics guru, which leads to the immediate conclusion that the team's new coach will also have to, at a minimum, buy into analytics.

Which may well mean a young unknown open to new ideas and ways to win.

That could point to a guy like the New England Patriots' Matt Patricia, who rose through the Bill Belichick ranks like so many other of the head coach's assistants.

Patricia left an engineering job to do the most menial of coaching jobs so he could gain a coaching resume. Belichick brought him along to the point that he's now the defensive coordinator.

The Boston Herald wrote in a fascinating profile of Patricia that people "knew that bearded guy with the aeronautical engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was always the smartest one in the room, and Patricia's plan always had a purpose."

Of all the candidates being interviewed, Patricia seems to make the most sense if the Browns truly are all-in with analytics. He has the youth, the energy and the mind to grasp what it means and how it can help.

The shift to analytics would not be easy for some NFL coaches. They are a big part of baseball but just in their infancy in football.

Analytics is one tool. An in-depth analytics study can give optimum size and speed for successful linebackers, but it can't measure heart.

Analytics might show arm length is not important for defensive linemen, as former Browns CEO Joe Banner said Wednesday on ESPN, but it won't show if a guy ran a wrong route, wrong stunt or called the wrong play.

Belichick said Wednesday he uses analytics as one tool, but "that's really not a big thing with me."

"I'm sure you can go to the Northeastern analytics conference or whatever it is here in summer or the spring and get your fill of it," Belichick said. "I'm sure there's a lot there." He was referring to the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics conference.

"Look, if you're out there coaching every day and to me if you can't see an 80 percent tendency, then what are you looking at?" Belichick said. "Now, is it 51-49, 49-51, I don't know. What are you going to do with that? You want to bet on 51, you want to bet on 49 or bet on 55 or 45? At that point, what's the difference?"

The thinking about analytics, though, is that if the study is at a 55-45 difference (or less), then analytics and a more detailed study of numbers may help with a decision to provide an advantage.

DePodesta wasn't hired solely for analytics. He was hired by Jimmy Haslam to make the Browns a better organization.

On the surface, it sounds like another 'That's So Browns' move, but those who have been around DePodesta rave about his work and his character, as this story on him in SI.com illustrates.

In the NFL analytics is one piece of the puzzle. The Browns can say they have one of the better guys in sports in that role.

How that affects the hiring of a coach will be most fascinating to watch.