If Kelly is able to duplicate the early NFL success of another former Pac-10/Pac-12 head coach, Jim Harbaugh, it will be open season on college coaches when NFL hiring season rolls around. With that in mind, I polled five NFL executives this week and asked them which college coach would make the best NFL head coach. Here are their answers:
Executive No. 1: Notre Dame's Brian Kelly
"Kelly has won in three challenging turnaround jobs -- Central Michigan, Cincinnati and Notre Dame. He has a very good understanding of offensive matchups and he's shown a good feel for evaluating personnel."
Executive No. 2: Boise State's Chris Petersen
"He's smart and very organized. He has good personnel, but his team always plays above its talent level. Also, he's just a very good man. Very humble."
Executive No. 3: Penn State's Bill O'Brien
"He's been a successful NFL coordinator, and he has the temperament, leadership and character you're looking for in a head coach."
Executive No. 4: Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin
"I'm a big fan of Kevin Sumlin. He has a great personality. He has a natural charisma about him, and he is outstanding dealing with the players, media and fans. He has all of the qualities I'd want in an NFL head coach."
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Executive No. 5: Sumlin
"He has the perfect demeanor for a head coach. He knows the pulse of his team. He makes football fun for his players, but he can also be a hard ass. He runs a great practice. The tempo is excellent."
Conclusion: There is plenty of coaching talent at the collegiate level and NFL executives are excited about several of them. Sumlin was the only coach to get more than one vote. He's come under some recent criticism for his handling of Johnny Manziel, but that wasn't a concern for any of these five executives.
A few of the personnel men I polled had a difficult time deciding on just one coach. A few of the other names that popped up in our discussions: Stanford's David Shaw, Miami's Al Golden, Alabama's Nick Saban and Ohio State's Urban Meyer.