The NFL head-coaching carousel is in full swing -- four jobs are open and more could become available very soon. Will NFL teams look to the college ranks to fill a vacancy? Colleague Ian Rapoport has reported that Alabama's Nick Saban would be a top target for the Colts if they decide to make a change.
Earlier this season, I reached out to five NFL personnel executives and asked them which college football head coach would make the best NFL head coach. Here are their answers.
Note: Every executive I spoke to said Jim Harbaugh would be at the top of the list for NFL teams seeking a head coach, but the executives were in agreement that there's virtually no chance Harbaugh would leave Michigan a year after taking the job.
Executive 1: Alabama coach Nick Saban
"Saban knows the league. He learned from (his) Miami (experience). If he found a job with a quarterback in place, he would win big."
Executive 2: Saban
"Schematically, he's already (in the NFL). He'll learn from his previous experience just like (Bill) Belichick and (Pete) Carroll did."
Executive 3: Temple coach Matt Rhule
"He has (one season) under (Giants coach Tom) Coughlin at the NFL level. He's very bright. It's not easy to win at Temple. It might be a little early for him to make that jump, but I really like him."
Executive 4: Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin
"He's smart and energetic. Players would love him. He'd be the perfect guy to follow up a tough, disciplinarian coach."
Executive 5: Saban
"This is an obvious choice. He has NFL experience and he runs an NFL system."
Verdict: Three votes went to Saban, while Rhule and Sumlin received one apiece.
Conclusion: The executives I polled didn't see Harbaugh returning to the pro ranks for 2016. On the other hand, there are some that believe Saban could jump at the right opportunity.
One more coach to keep an eye on -- UCLA's Jim Mora wasn't mentioned by any of the executives, but I think he'll be an attractive candidate.