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Ask 5: Which college coach would make best NFL head coach?


The NFL is entering the final week of its regular season and while a dozen teams will advance to the playoffs, there's buzz that a similar number of teams might make changes at the head-coaching position early next week. One team -- the Giants -- has already made a change. I can't recall a year where there were more potential openings in the NFL, and I'm not so sure there are enough qualified candidates in the pro ranks to fill all of the jobs that could be available.

With that in mind, I wouldn't be shocked to see a few teams approach current college head coaches to gauge their interest in moving up a level. I recently reached out to 5 NFL personnel executives and asked them which current college coach would make the best NFL head coach. Here are their answers.

College Football 24/7 Hot Topics:

Executive 1: Iowa State's Matt Campbell
"Just look at the job Campbell has done at Iowa State. He's an excellent scheme coach, but even more important, he has a presence and his players buy in to what he's selling. I think he would translate well to the next level."

Executive 2: Washington's Chris Petersen
"Petersen would easily be my top candidate. He's an outstanding coach and I know some teams have done their homework on him. Recruiting is such a mess for these coaches. I wouldn't be totally shocked if he decided to make the jump. He would be a home-run hire for any NFL team."

Executive 3: Stanford's David Shaw
"Shaw is a smart, offensive-minded guy. He's honest with his players and he doesn't play favorites. You can tell the players respect him and he gets results."

Executive 4: Petersen
"I'd take Petersen. He's very smart, organized, runs a pro offense and his teams are always tough and disciplined. He knows exactly what he wants in a player. He's coached a ton of NFL talent at Boise State and Washington. My only question would be what kind of staff could he attract. The guy is a stud."

Executive 5: Shaw
"The short answer -- (Shaw) gets it. He doesn't just coach a team; he runs a program. He relates well and he has a solid scheme on both sides of the ball. He also has NFL coaching experience."

Summary: That's two votes apiece for Petersen and Shaw and one vote for Campbell.

Conclusion: I've been around both Petersen and Shaw -- I think they would be outstanding NFL head coaches. They both have a proven track record as well as a proven system for identifying and developing talent. I haven't been around Campbell, but I respect the job he's done at Iowa State.

I was a little surprised there wasn't any mention of Urban Meyer, Nick Saban or Dabo Swinney. Those are the three most successful college coaches at the moment, but I think it's assumed they wouldn't be interested in making the move to the NFL. Jim Harbaugh is the other big name that never came up. That was also a surprise. If we do end up with double-digit job openings in the NFL, I think we will see at least one college coach accept a position at the next level. Who will it be? That's the great mystery.

Follow Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter at @MoveTheSticks.



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