Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe has some fascinating news on Twitter:
Lombardi/Belichick relationship goes back years...Lombardi evaluations played role in recent drafts...2010-12
That's some great news. While it turns out some of our facts regarding Lombardi and a potential Browns renaissance have been incorrect (small role in Richardson trade/little to do with free cap space/more to come later), it seems as if his impact on the Patriots has already been tremendous.
The Patriots front office hit an obvious rut in between 2006 and 2009, with Jerod Mayo, Sebastian Vollmer, and Julian Edelman being the best picks in that time period (other names include Laurence Maroney, Brandon Meriweather, Pat Chung/Darius Butler/Ron Brace).
So it seems that the Patriots needed some outside help and old friend Mike Lombardi was all too willing to assist.
Between 2010 and 2012, here's a list of important Patriots that Lombardi may have had an influence on drafting:
2010: Devin McCourty, Rob Gronkowski, Brandon Spikes, Aaron Hernandez, Zoltan Mesko, Brandon Deaderick
2011: Nate Solder, Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley, Ryan Mallett, Marcus Cannon
2012: Chandler Jones, Dont'a Hightower, Alfonzo Dennard
Sure, there have been some clear misses (Jermaine Cunningham, Taylor Price, Ras-I Dowling, Tavon Wilson, Jake Bequette), but the hits have presented a tremendous haul of wealth.
If Lombardi is able to come to the Patriots and help with another great draft, then this is a tremendous signing regardless of whatever the heck he did in Cleveland.
And yes, I'm only going to be using this one picture of him.