DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 04:  Northern Illinois Huskies quarterback Rocky Lombardi (12) calls out play signals during the Mid-American Conference football championship game between the Kent State Golden Flashes and the Northern Illinois Huskies on December 4, 2021 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 04: Northern Illinois Huskies quarterback Rocky Lombardi (12) calls out play signals during the Mid-American Conference football championship game between the Kent State Golden Flashes and the Northern Illinois Huskies on December 4, 2021 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Equations: Rocky Lombardi, QB, Northern Illinois

Reading Time: 3 minutes

First Round Mock’s William Yanish did the work on quarterback (QB) Rocky Lombardi, someone who is not getting much play in mainstream draft media.

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA – SEPTEMBER 16: Quarterback Rocky Lombardi #12 of the Northern Illinois Huskies passes against Nebraska Cornhuskers in the first quarter at Memorial Stadium on September 16, 2023 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)

Scouting a prospect that likely will be an un-drafted free agent (UDFA) is not everyone’s cup of tea.

UDFA stars are few and far between. In fact, there are likely better odds of winning on a lottery ticket than scoring on one of these players.

It’s even worse when you are wrong.

Such a prospect is how I began in this career field (in an indirect way). That would be with Bills backup quarterback (QB) Kyle Allen.

Lombardi

No other name grabs people’s attention in the NFL more than this last name.

Of course, I am talking about the immortal coach, Vince Lombardi, who was the head coach of the Packers and Redskins, and the man who the Super Bowl Trophy is named after.

This Northern Illinois QB I am talking about comes from a football family, but is of no known relation to the legend. I was told while studying forensics that I was not allowed to believe in coincidence. It is important to note straight from Northern Illinois’ website that this Lombardi comes from a football family of his own.

-Father, Tony, played college football at Arizona State (1980-82, ‘84) and has more than 30 years of football coaching experience, most recently at UW-Stout.
-Grandfather, Bob, is in the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
-Brother, Beau, is an offensive lineman at Army West Point.

This is something NFL teams will look at. There is a tendency in scouting departments to like prospects who have a football family background.

Lombardi is also on the 2024 Reese’s Senior Bowl watchlist. This will help too.

This is a player who just might take his last snap ever this season, but I’m not concentrating on that. I’m just concentrating on the man himself and what he can bring to the table.

At 6-foot-3, 223 pounds, the Michigan State transfer looks like a prototype of a QB.

The Yanish Report

Tall, lean long build. Footwork is deep and rhythmic. Steps up well through the pocket. Deceptive mobility. Good, good play-action. Oldie but goodie mechanics. Solid foundation. Quick release. Makes some great throws. Placement is a work-in-progress. Consistency could improve. Good field vision. Sees well over the offensive line. What you would want in a QB Coaches son. Outstanding football IQ. Supporting cast would nice. Underdog roots. Poised. Coach on the field embodiment. Team captain.

For the win

Lombardi will be in an NFL camp somewhere next spring.

It would be a travesty if he’s overlooked. He has to be on someone’s radar.

Yet there is always hope. If you do not have hope, you don’t have anything. One of my favorite things about football is that there is always next year.

If I were a general manager and I were looking into signing a QB after the 2024 NFL Draft, I sure would be considering making the move if he’s still on the board. Lombardi has football IQ, toughness, and solid footwork. UDFA QBs usually get a couple of options of where to sign. There is always room to improve from a team’s talent standpoint or even to stir up camp competition. The situation he ends up in will matter as well.

I would give him a shot at learning. Heck, I put a draftable grade on him based on what he showed me on film.

My BIG three questions

1. Can he take advantage of the Reese’s Senior Bowl invite if it happens?

2. Will he get a chance to be mentored by a QB guru in the NFL?

3. How early will his shot come?

My 2024 NFL Draft Value: Fourth-Round

2020 Game Film Evidence (Michigan State No. 12)

Michigan

2021 Game Film Evidence (Northern Illinois No.12)

Georgia Tech

Michigan

2023 Game Film Evidence (Northern Illinois No.12)

Nebraska

Tulsa

William Yanish III is a lifelong football fan. He’s from the little town of Crawford, Colorado. Along the way, he’s lived in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and Brookings, Oregon. Quarterback Joe Montana was his idol growing up. A little bit of CTE from life’s adventures killed his dreams as a football player. Now, he is an aspiring writer and Draft Analyst at FirstRoundMock.com. He’s a fanatic with a dream, which is coming true.

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