Top 10 NFL Head Coaching Candidates for 2022
#10. Vic Fangio-Former Denver Broncos Head Coach
Vic Fangio's tenure at Denver has come to an end and while he needed to go it wasn't because of his inability to coach, run a defense which is his specialty, or because he causes issues within but rather his time in the organization just ran its course and a fresh start for both parties was needed. Fangio is an energetic defensive coach that has made fools of some of the best offensive minds in the NFL and while his Denver defense was great, this is a quarterbacks league and if you don't have one, your chances of winning drop considerably. Fangio has a great eye for talent, he does a phenomenal job of developing defenders, and he amps his team up considerably for every game and you never leave a Broncos matchup think they didn't give their all. If Fangio goes to a team with a good offense and veteran quarterback, he could be a great head coach for a team and with his defensive prowess you can at least feel safe as an organization that the defensive side of the ball will be very stout.
Best Fit: Minnesota Vikings
#9. Rich Bisaccia-Interim Las Vegas Raiders Head Coach
Although I don't think Rich Bisaccia should be or will be on the market after the season it's worth putting him on the list after somehow some way taking his team to the playoffs after one of the most controversial NFL season in recent memory. His former head coach in John Gruden had to leave due to his political, racial, and misogynistic beliefs which turned the Las Vegas Raiders into a clown show for about a week and later in the season they would lose their star receiver in Henry Ruggs after he ended his football career by killing a woman while driving intoxicated. Somehow Bisaccia and other members of the team were able to rally together, steady the ship, and punch their ticket to a wild card playoff game. Bisaccia ability to keep this team a float through tragedies is something movies are made about and if the Raiders don't resign him as their head coach, I can almost guarantee somebody will. Bisaccia is a special teams coach so he's not coming into an NFL organization with much in the way calling plays but a team looking for a head coach that doesn't get in the way of the teams success and maintains order should have Bisaccia high on their list. He's the perfect to come into a team that just needs to stable presence at the top but I doubt he leaves or doesn't get resigned by his team.
Best Fit: Las Vegas Raiders
#8. Nathaniel Hackett-Green Bay Packers Offensive Coordinator
The Green Packers are Aaron Rodgers team and it seems now that every decision made in the organization has to be approved by Aaron Rodgers and the one person he loves more than anyone on his coaching staff is his offensive coordinator in Nathaniel Hackett. Hackett has done a great job of developing talent and one of the biggest reasons for Nathaniel Hackett's interest as well as is many believe that where he goes Aaron will go and Hackett could easily become the most desired coaching candidate in the NFL if theirs life in that rumor. My only question about Hackett is if he runs the offense or does his head coach in Matt LaFleur and his quarterback run it because while he's proven to able to develop talent, he needs to be able to run a team if he wants to be a head coach. Depending on if Aaron hitches his wagon to him, Nathaniel Hackett would benefit from going to a team in complete and total rebuild mode with a young quarterback and pieces on both sides of the ball that could help create a foundation.
Best Fit: Chicago Bears
#7. Todd Downing-Tennessee Titans Offensive Coordinator
The Tennessee Titans under Mike Vrabel in 2021 went from potential disaster after losing Derrick Henry early in the season to the AFC's #1 seed without him by playing tough smart football and while Vrabel clearly had a hand in keeping the ship steady, Todd Downing handling of the offense minus Henry was nothing short of remarkable. Downing has been working his way up the NFL coaching ladder slowly but surely and he's proven to be an asset at every rung and with his handling of the Titans offense that everyone would say lost their best player it's hard not to come away highly impressed with his ability. Downing is a relatively unknown name among NFL owners likely because his head coach in Mike Vrabel gets a majority of the credit for keeping his team alive but Downing was a certainly the one that had put the pieces together for this team. He'll need to go to a team with a good defensive foundation with his run heavy offense and if he does find that team, he's capable of turning things around for them.
Best Fit: Miami Dolphins
#6 Kellen Moore-Dallas Cowboys Offensive Coordinator
Kellen "Wonder Boy" Moore has been a Dallas Cowboys staple for the past few seasons and with the success of Dallas Cowboys offense his reputation as a creative offensive mind has only grown. Kellen Moore is by far the youngest head coaching candidate on this list and young coaching candidates have been very hit or miss in the NFL but every team in the NFL has been looking for the next Kyle Shanahan or Sean McVay since they have taken both of their teams to the Super Bowl who came into their positions with "disadvantage" of being young. Kellen Moore is the all-time wins leader in college football at the quarterback position when he played at Boise State and if he didn't get injured in 2016 and replaced by Dak Prescott, Moore would likely have been an NFL: quarterback. Moore needs potent offensive weapons to get his scheme to work since he's relatively unproven as talent developer but when players buy into his scheme and play calling great things have happened.
Best Fit: Minnesota Vikings
#5. Dan Quinn-Dallas Cowboys Defensive COordinator
What Dan Quinn did for the Dallas defense by turning them from a laughing stock into the prolific turnover defense in the NFL with only a Covid ridden offseason to do so has not only resurrected his head coaching career but made him one of the hottest coaching hires in the NFL. The former Atlanta Falcons head coach does have Super Bowl appearance on his resume despite it being the largest comeback in Super Bowl history and he did have a winning record when he left Atlanta despite how it turned out his final year there. Dan Quinn is an energetic coach that knows how to amp up his players to ensure he gets the best out of them and he also has an eye for defensive talent and development and although I think he needs to veteran quarterback to get him far in a season, going to a team with cap room to spend and solid defensive foundation could be jsut what he needs to succeed early.
Best Fit: Denver Broncos
#4. Byron LeftWich-Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offensive Coordinator
Byron Leftwich has enjoyed quite the run as the Buccaneers offensive coordinator under Bruce Arians and has done a remarkable job of helping Tom Brady to another Super Bowl as well as maintaining a level of consistency on offense despite the horrendous turmoil that has befallen the organization as of late. Leftwich is a former NFL quarterback that has seen a lot and learned behind some of the best in the game and his experiences in other classy organizations like Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay could be just what the doctor ordered for an NFL franchise looking to turn things around quickly. Yes it's easy to look competent when the G.O.A.T. Tom Brady is your quarterback on the field but I can't imagine Leftwich doesn't get a say in what play gets called on offense. Pairing him with a young quarterback could be challenging for him but with his experience playing and coaching the game I doubt the task will prove itself to be too much for him.
Best Fit: Jacksonville Jaguars
#3. Brian FLores-Former Miami Dolphins Head Coach
The firing of Brian Flores in Miami shocked just about everyone in the NFL because not did Flores take a 1-7 team nearly into the playoffs but he did nearly twice in his three seasons with the organization that featured a tumultuous quarterback rotation that was a mixture of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tua Tagovailoa, both of whom aren't necessarily playoff material. And with reports coming out that Flores wanted Justin Herbert over Tua and the owner didn't see eye to eye with him on that selection, I can imagine that creates communication issues and animosity very quickly. Brian Flores is a phenomenal defensive coach and excellent motivator and heading to a football team with veteran quarterback with pieces on defense to build around could be just what Flores needs to get him and his team into the playoffs.
Best Fit: Las Vegas Raiders
#2. Eric Bieniemy-Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator
If I see Eric Bieniemy on an NFL head coaching candidate list one more year I might lose my mind. Bienemy is easily one of the best offensive minds in the sport and what he's done with Patrick Mahomes and company is truly remarkable and should get him whatever job he wants in the NFL. He's been a hot candidate since Mahomes won the Super Bowl two years ago and maybe it's a Josh McDaniels with Bill Belichick situation where Bieniemy will take over for Andy Ried when he eventually retires but I am not sure. For all I know Bieniemy is turning down jobs from organizations because the potential for this succession to happen and who better to keep Kansas City in the spotlight than the man who coached up Mahomes and has been a mainstay in the organization for nearly a decade.
Best Fit: Jacksonville Jaguars
#1. Jim Harbaugh-University of Michigan Head Coach
I know college coaches now have a reputation in the NFL of completely crash landing upon arrival after Urban Meyer turned the Jacksonville Jaguars into a Clown show but Jim Harbaugh has found success both in the NFL and in college twice and after his playoff berth in 2021 only to be trounced by the eventual College Football Champions in the Georgia Bull Dogs, Harbaugh has been rumored to been potentially considering another run in the NFL. Harbaughs 49ers were easily one of the most memorable teams of the 2010's and he brought to the Super Bowl where they would eventually lose to the Ravens on the final play of the game. Harbaugh is a very smart head coach who knows how to develop talent, galvanize a team to achieve their goals, and can put together a very solid and structured team that can beat anybody. An NFL Super Bowl on his resume would make him easily one of the best coaches in sports and I could easily see a team handing him the keys to the franchise with the hopes that he could turn it around quickly.
Best Fit: New York Giants
2021 Draft Grades: Post Season
By Casey Butulia -01/06/2021
#1 Jacksonville Jaguars-Trevor Lawrence: ?
It's very rare for a rookie quarterback to play the entire season and for me to not know how to grade his performance after the dumpster fire that became of his head coach in Urban Meyer whose decisions for an NFL head coach border insanity and how badly he mismanaged Trevor Lawrence's rookie year kind of excludes it in my opinion, his second year in the league with a new head coach that's not going to just leave him to the wolves like Urban did will likely dramatically turnaround his career. His stats in 2021 don't reflect his ability and potential in the NFL and it's shame that his rookie year came with one of the worst rookie head coaches to ever step on a professional field.
#2 New York Jets-Zach Wilson: C-
The New York Jets reached for a quarterback in the 2021 draft in my opinion with the selection of Zach Wilson and the "second coming of Aaron Rodgers" that many proclaimed him to be was far from true. He showed in his rookie year that he takes too many risks, that he doesn't sense pocket pressure very well, and that he's potentially injury prone after going down midseason with an injury that kept him out for a good portion of the season. That being said, there were flashes of potential in games with some nice laser throws , good athleticism for a quarterback, and many would consider it an okay year given the injuries that plagued the Jets early on. He needs heavy coaching and tempering as a second year pro and getting him an experienced quarterback coach will be crucial to his development.
#3 San Francisco 49ers-Trey Lance: N/A
Just as it was planned before the season, Trey Lance would likely sit his rookie year to watch, learn, and develop for his second year when he would make his official debut as the starting quarterback for the Niners, he did play some in 2021 but not enough for me to feel comfortable to give him a grade. Next years performance will be crucial for his future.
#4 Atlanta Falcons-Kyle Pitts: B+
This is the classic case of the right guy going to the wrong team as Kyle Pitts went to the Atlanta Falcons, a team that didn't need a tight end and had other major issues elsewhere. However, Kyle Pitts dominated in his rookie as he put together one of the best rookie tight end seasons we have ever seen and while they desperately needed to hit on a prospect which is why they went with best player available in Pitts, his selection didn't translate very well in the win column. He's going to be a remarkable weapon for the next quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons assuming that they eventually let go of Matt Ryan and draft another quarterback and Kyle Pitt's could very well be a staple on highlight reels for the next decade, whether translates into wins is a whole other matter entirely.
#5 Cincinnati Bengals-Ja'Marr Chase: A+
I said it before the draft that it would be wise for the Bengals to draft Ja'Marr Chase and reunite him with his former college quarterback in Joe Burrow and boy did they wreck the league together all the way to AFC North title and a chance at the playoffs. Ja'Marr Chase's elite athleticism and route-running embarrassed very good NFL corners and he helped propel the Bengals into playoff contention as well as make them a potential Super Bowl contender. The Burrow-Chase duo is going to be a major problem for defenses for likely the next decade could give Cincinnati hope as an organization once again.
#6 Miami Dolphins-Jaylen Waddle: B
Jaylen Waddle's rookie year looked to be relatively average until December happened when he and his quarterback Tua Tagovailoa got on the same wave length which then helped Waddle scorch defenses with big plays, showing that electric homerun ability that made him such a dangerous player in the SEC. His speed was highly regarded coming out college and for it to take three quarters of the season to see him use it fully is a mark against the offense of the Dolphins.
#7 Detroit Lions-Penei Sewell: B+
Although his start in the NFL looked rocky in the beginning, Penei Sewell got his game back together to become one of the better offensive lineman in the NFL and I am expecting him to develop into a pro bowler in year 2. His team finishing at the bottom of the league isn't his fault considering that his job is to provide his team time capitalize on opportunities and he did his part very well. If he played the way he's playing towards the end of the season in the beginning, he'd be a pro bowl tackle and I would've give him an A.
#8 Carolina Panthers-Jaycee Horn: N/A
Jaycee Horn to Carolina was the first shocking pick of the draft and after only being able to play 3 games of his rookie year due to a season ending knee injury. He did play well in those games but playing less than a quarter of an NFL season doesn't give me enough to give him a grade
#9 Denver Broncos-Patrick Surtain II: A
Patrick Surtain II was the highest graded corner I have seen since Jalen Ramsey came into the league and he didn't disappoint in his NFL rookie year as he was one of the best cover corners in the NFL. He blanketed receivers throughout the NFL season and made the Denver pass defense one to be feared in the AFC. He as one can't miss prospects in the NFL draft and it was a shame that he did not get an invite to the pro bowl.
# 10 Philadelphia Eagles (Via Cowboys)-Devonta Smith: B+
In the shock of the night, the Philadelphia Eagles traded with there arch rival in the Dallas Cowboy's to move up ahead of their other arch rival in New York Giants to select Devonta Smith who has done a great job of giving Jalen Hurts the reliable route-running target that he so desperately needed. Smith's numbers are good but don't jump off the sheet but he was a very clutch receiver for the Eagles and probably the biggest reason for their playoff berth in the NFL.
# 11 Chicago Bears (Giants)-Justin Fields: c
The Bears traded up for Justin Fields which was regarded as the best move of the night in my opinion to grab a player they so desperately needed and while his rookie year has been less than expected, his bad coaching staff, bad offensive line, and questionable offense as a whole didn't help him in that regard. He showed flashes of greatness in his rookie year with his electric athleticism and howitzer arm strength but he has a ways to go as a quarterback if he wants to find success in the NFL and his organization's total rebuild needs to involve getting him the coaching he desperately needs.
#12 Dallas Cowboys (Via Eagles)-Micah Parsons: A+
The Dallas Cowboy's after missing out on Patrick Surtain II traded back in a desperate move to gather picks and regroup and when Micah Parsons was on the board their wasn't a doubt in anyone's mind that he'd be wearing a star on his helmet and OMG did he deliver for the Dallas Cowboys. His ungodly production as rookie middle linebacker in every stat column not only locked up defensive rookie of the year for him but likely made him 2nd in the defensive player of the year voting. He's directly responsible for the Dallas Cowboy's going from worst to first in the NFC East and his production for an inside linebacker this season is second to none, as a rookie mind you. He's the best player in this draft, which was a very good one, and I honestly don't know how high his ceiling is as a player based on his rookie year production.
# 13 Los Angeles Chargers-Rashawn Slater: A+
Many had Rashawn Slater pegged as the best offensive lineman in the draft by some and he fall in the draft was shocking but there's always one or two players that suffer in a talented rookie class but he turned into one of the biggest steals in the draft and one of the best left tackles in the NFL. He's been a godsend for Justin Herbert with his protection on the edge and he has allowed Herbert to throw the football without worry. He's indirectly responsible for the Chargers playoff opportunity and he should be a perennial pro bowler on the outside on of the best young offenses in the NFL.
#14 New York Jets (Via Vikings)-Alijah Vera-Tucker: B
The New York Jets had another disappointing season but one of the brighter spots on the team was Alijah Vera-Tucker who showed himself to be a quality offensive guard for a Jet offense that can't put the ball in the end zone. Guards rarely have ever had an adverse effect on games, rookie or not, but his individual performance showed a player whose on the right track as an NFL pro. If he continues to improve, he could be a stalwart on the Jets offensive line for years.
#15 New England Patriots-Mac Jones: A+
Of all the rookie quarterbacks in the draft, I thought Mac Jones was the lesser prospect with the lowest ceiling of all of them but after the Patriots picked him in the draft, I just new that he'd be a great addition and potential rookie of the year considering the situation he was going to is the best a young quarterback could ask for. His accuracy and command of the offense is very rare for a rookie and he's only going to get better. Watch out for the New England patriots in the playoffs
#16 Arizona Cardinals-Zaven Collins: D
Zaven Collins hasn't seen the field much in his rookie year as a defensive player and while that normally can get you pass when you're a quarterback but when your a middle linebacker, it usually means that the team doesn't fully trust you to start which is a tough pill to swallow for an organization that picked him in the first round. Hopefully he can show he can contribute in his second year with Arizona.
#17 Las Vegas Raiders-Alex Leatherwood: D
The Las Vegas Raiders under, now former, Head Coach John Gruden have made some head scratching moves during the NFL draft with some of there worst being offensive lineman and unfortunately Alabama left tackle Alex Leatherwood didn't do much to convince anyone that he's a the right guy on the edge. He's struggled mightily from a technical stand point this season and is going to need heavy coaching to get him to a reliable level at the position. It's his rookie year and the Raiders basically made him sink or swim in the NFL and while that has proven to be a high risk high reward venture, it's up Leatherwood to learn from his mistakes and develop accordingly.
#18 Miami Dolphins-Jaelan Phillips: A-
Jaelen Phillips has been an excellent addition to the Miami Dolphins pass rush with his double-digit rookie sack season and helping the Dolphins do a complete turn around mid-season. He looks to be a fearsome pass rusher in the AFC East for years to come and helps complete the Miami defense considering the one piece they were lacking on defense was an effective edge rusher. He has to become a more consistent run defender but I'll take his pass rush ability as a rookie over run defense on any Sunday.
#19 Washington Football Team-Jamin Davis: F
One rookie who has seriously struggled this season is Jamin Davis out of Kentucky who was a huge reach to begin with at pick #19 and has proven to be much more of a project at linebacker than Washington thought he was. He was supposed a great coverage linebacker with excellent instincts and athleticism and while the athleticism is still there, the coverage skills and instincts that he was supposed to have clearly are not and his ability to defend the run and tackle players is also a huge issue. It's going to take a major offseason trunaround for him to become a productive and reliable linebacker because his head coach in Ron Rivera, a notorious defensive head coach, doesn't suffer fools in his linebacker unit.
#20 New York Giants (Via Bears)-Kadarius Toney: C
Kadarius Toney after a rocky start to his career during the offseason Kadarius Toney has flash talent that the Giants were counting when they traded back for him in the draft and what he has done really well is show case the YAC plays and elusiveness that made him such a dangerous offensive weapon in college. However, he was hit with injury bug in his rookie year and outside of some garbage time yards in Dallas, he has struggled some in the NFL. He's also apparently has some maturity issues that have cost him snaps for the Giants. He'll need to be much more consistent in year 2 but the potential for an exciting player.
#21 Indianapolis Colts-Kwity Paye: B
Kwity Paye has been one of the quieter draft successes in the NFL as he's been productive off the stat sheet with bringing great pressure off the edge and contributing in the run game. He was one of the more raw prospects in this draft and to see him steadily improve shows how good of a prospect he was in the draft and why many teams had him high on their draft boards. He's got all the tools to be a monster off the edge, he just needs to keep chipping and sculpting his game.
#22 Tennessee Titans-Caleb Farley: N/A
The injury bug hit Farley pretty hard in his rookie year which was disappointing considering that was the big knock on him during the draft. He's not gradable with his limited availability but in the games he was able to play, he looked less than impressive.
#23 Minnesota Vikings (Via Jets)-Christian Darrisaw: B+
The Minnesota Vikings played the NFL draft like a fiddle trading back with the New York Jets while also drafting one of the better tackles in the draft at a pick that many couldn't believe he fell to. Darrisaw has been a very good offensive tackle in his rookie year in the NFL playing on left side of the line. He's had his ups and downs in his rookie year but mostly positive and if he continues his trajectory for the Vikings, he could be a pro bowl offensive tackle in his career.
#24 Pittsburgh Steelers-Najee Harris: B
Pittsburgh Steeler fans had mixed feelings when the Steelers drafted Najee Harris in the first round and after a rocky start with the offense, Harris eventually got his feet under him and started making things happen for the offense. His bruising yet elusive running style helped the Steelers tremendously with Big Ben on the way out and it was made even more impressive considering how poorly his line played.
#25 Jacksonville Jaguars-Travis Etienne: N/A
He injured his knee in the offseason and never stepped on the field. Probably for the best considering that Urban Meyer probably would have misused him.
#26 Cleveland Browns-Greg Newsome II: B
Greg Newsome II has been a good pickup for the Cleveland Browns in the first round whose coverage skills and consistent play that he was highly regarded for in the draft process came to fruition in the NFL. He helped solidify the opposite side of the defense with Denzel Ward manning the other and the formed a good duo that's only going to get better. I would have like to see more interceptions in in his rookie year but his overall play should leave the Browns organization happy and optimistic.
#27 Baltimore Ravens-Rashod Bateman: B-
Rashod Bateman missed the first half if the season however when he played he did flash potential. He's had issues with consistency which isn't entirely his fault considering the quarterbacking nightmare that was Baltimore this year and he struggled to get into the end zone in his rookie year. He was a reach in the draft in my opinion but his production considering the time he lost this season does show a positive for his development.
#28 New Orleans Saints-Payton Turner: D+
Payton Turner was easily the biggest reach of the NFL draft and his play in his rookie season backs up why I and others felt this pick was one of the, to be nice, "iffiest" picks in the NFL draft. Payton Turner is athletic and he did show that at least but as an overall prospect, he has a way to go before he becomes a reliable defensive lineman in the NFL. Injuries this season shortened his playing time which also doesn't help but I saw enough to come away with a grade.
#29 Green Bay Packers-Eric Stokes: B+
Eric Stokes one of the better picks towards the end of the draft and he showed in Green Bay this that his elite athleticism and length at the cornerback does transfer well in to the NFL. He's been one of the best additions to the Green Bay Packers after Jaire Alexander went down with injury. He's been a major reason for the Packers success on defense this year and when Jaire Alexander returns this year, the two will be a great duo in the playoffs.
#30 Buffalo Bills-Gregory Rousseau: B-
Gregory Rousseau I thought was the best pick of the draft because I had such high hopes for him coming out of college and while he hasn't blown me away in his rookie, he's been pretty decent. His size, length, and athleticism have proven to a difficult match up on occasion and he's gotten better with every game. He's overall production on the stat sheet won't show his impact but he does make one for the Bills and if he can play with more finesse and consistency.
#31 Baltimore Ravens (Via Chiefs)-Odafe Jayson Oweh: A-
This was one draft pick that I was proven very wrong on and I commend the Ravens for seeing the forest through the trees. He's been a great edge presence for the Ravens who were in trouble after losing Matt Judon in the offseason. Oweh showed incredible ability to dislodge the football from ball carriers and his sack production off the edge was unprecedented for a player who didn't have a sack in 2020. He's still super raw as a prospect but his progress from where he was coming out college is very optimistic.
#32 Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Joe Tryon-Shoyinka: C+
Joe Tryon-Shoyinka was a reach at the end of the draft but when you are a Super Champ, it's all about grabbing depth for the roster and with pass rushers of the Buccaneers potentially leaving or retiring Joe Tryon-Shoyinka is a good pick just based off of fit, however he's been average at best as a rookie. He's been productive in a rotational role but his game must improve for him to be a reliable starter on the Bucs defense.