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Rob Chudzinski: Michael Lombardi a 'great evaluator'

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Michael Lombardi hire in Cleveland remains a talking point for those who cover the team, but Browns coach Rob Chudzinski insists the new vice president of player personnel is off to a strong start.

"Michael's extremely intelligent, bright, understands the game, great evaluator, understands the business side," Chudzinski told reporters Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. "... Mike's staff, in a short amount of time, has really done a lot of things, and we've been impressed."

The Browns repeatedly have talked this offseason about a committee approach to picking players and growing the roster. Chud said the first order of business was to "define what we wanted as a Cleveland Brown, define what we wanted in different positions, and really separate out and outlining those characteristics and player characteristics that we need from those different positions."

That sounds an awful lot like Lombardi's first swing through Cleveland in the 1990s. Under then-coach Bill Belichick, Lombardi and friends labored to reorganize the team's scouting department and re-imagine how players would be measured. The goal was to find athletes who fit the mold of a tough, cold-weather team with the ability to grind through the rigors of the season. Belichick ultimately brought that home-cooked scouting approach to New England, where it's been updated and proven wildly successful.

It comes down to identity, something the Browns -- as a team -- have struggled to develop since their return to the league in 1999. The latest regime believes they're on to something. They'll be watched closely until they're proven correct.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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