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Getting to Know GMs with Mike Lombardi

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Mike Lombardi is a former personnel executive with the Broncos and Raiders.  He's a writer for the National Football Post and, as his bio says, he's worked with some of the greatest minds in football like Bill Walsh and Bill Belichick in his 23 years in the NFL.  Mr. Lombardi was kind enough to give us a couple quick hits on some questions about GMs.

I asked him for a few names of front office guys around the league that aren't getting much publicity as potential GM candidates but should be.  Here are the four names he gave me.

Reggie McKenzie

We know about McKenzie as he was part of our Getting to Know a GM series.  He's worked in the Packers personnel department for the last 14 years until he was promoted to Director of Football Operations in May of 2008.

John Schneider

Schneider was in the queue for our Getting to Know a GM series until all this Pioli news hit.  He was given the same title as McKenzie in the Packers organization and previously served as a personnel analyst to GM Ted Thompson.

Bobby DePaul

DePaul is the Director of Pro Personnel for the Chicago Bears.  He previously worked as an NFL assistant coach and in the Pro Personnel department of the Eagles.  He's involved in free agency, waiver wires and advance scouting for the Bears opponents.

Rushton Webster

Webster is the VP of Player Personnel for the Seahawks.  I've seen his name pop up sporadically throughout our GM coverage.

Arrowhead Pride has covered the Browns' GM search as much as the Chiefs it seems.  Mostly because each team appeared to have similar candidates for the job.  But the Browns went ahead and hired head coach Eric Mangini before they hired their GM. 

There's been much criticism about this move because most folks would say the GM should be hiring his own coach because he's ultimately the top executive.  Lombardi pointed out that the relationship between the GM and Coach is crucial.

The more important factor is for them to have mutual trust and respect for each other and share the same philosophy.

If you look around at the GM candidates we've covered, some of AP's favorite candidates have scouting backgrounds.  While a few of them have Pro Personnel backgrounds, we've clearly favored the draft guys (In a nutshell, Scouting is draft related and Pro Personnel is free agency/waivers related).

Which background is more conducive to success as a GM?

I think knowing the Pro game is critical, but teams seem to favor the college guys.  I believe if you know the Pro game it will allow you to know what you need and makes the college process much easier.

We've focused on draft guys but Lombardi makes an excellent point here.  Ultimately, you can't be a successful GM without being able to competently manage both aspects.

Finally, I asked him about the Chiefs.  Can they be the next Miami Dolphins?

They have much work to do on both sides of the ball to be a playoff team.  Remember, Miami had a veteran QB, who did not turn the ball over. 

Competent QB and not turning the ball over.  Completely agreed but as Kansas City has shown time and time again, that's much easier said than done.

Big thanks to Mr. Lombardi for taking time out of his busy day at the National Football Post to answer a few questions for us.