Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com reported today that Mike Lombardi was on the flight from Boston with the Patriots as part of their contingent covering the draft combine. This confirms earlier reports that Lombardi, recently fired as the Cleveland Browns GM, was about to join the Pats management group in some as yet unspecified capacity.
Lombardi and Belichick had been friends since the early '90s when they both worked for the Browns. Belichick was head coach and Lombardi director of player personnel. My previous post, found here, https://fantasyknuckleheads.com/new-england-patriots-war-room/, mentions the rumor of the Lombardi move, and that it would be good move for the Patriots.
Lombardi has had a long and successful career having worked with a who's who of football going back to Bill Walsh, Al Davis, Bill Belichick, Mike Shanahan and and Marty Schottenheimer. Lombardi worked with Belichick as as a talent evaluator as recently as the 2010 through 2012 drafts which were all relatively successful.
Also earlier today, Doug Keyed of NESN reported that Tom Brady backup quarterback, Ryan Mallett, could be available for a second round pick in a trade. Ryan Mallett was a Patriot third round pick in 2011 and was reported at the time as a first round talent with some minor maturity issues. .
He has been a solid backup for Brady for three seasons, albeit, with a healthy and very productive Brady, Mallett has never had the opportunity to show what he can do on the field. There should be interest from a number of teams for Mallett including a number of them who drafted quarterbacks ahead of Mallett in the 2011 draft.
The report of Lombardi joining the Patriots and the potential trade of Mallett signals a likely move by the Patriots to draft a quarterback in the coming draft as the potential successor to Brady who is signed through 2017 when he will be 40.