No. 1 Denver Broncos
Ranking the six NFL coach openings in order of attractiveness
The three most coveted assets in pro football are quarterbacks, cover corners and edge rushers. This job checks off at least two from that list—and maybe all three, depending on your view of Paxton Lynch’s potential. It’s important to remember that, though they didn’t reach the playoffs this year, the Broncos still have a Super Bowl-caliber defense. GM John Elway knows that. Elway is going to want a strong, clear plan from whoever coordinates that D. No one is better suited for the job than the man who’s been filling it, Wade Phillips. We’ve seen new head coaches come aboard before and keep a previous regime’s coordinator; on average it happens about once every two or three years. If Phillips can’t be retained, Elway is going to want the role filled by someone of Phillips’s ilk. However it shakes out, there will be very specific guidelines in place for coaching on the defensive side (as there should be). To some coaches, that might feel encumbering because one of the biggest appeals about being in charge is getting to put together your own staff. But to other coaches, particularly the ones without egos, the situation on defense is intriguing. After all, who wouldn’t want to work with talent like Von Miller, Chris Harris, Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward, etc., even if it might mean fielding strong input from the front office?
The talent on Denver’s offense is less enticing but better than people think (again, depending on your view of Lynch). And in Elway you have a proven GM who’s willing to make bold roster moves to fit your scheme.
Best Fit for Broncos
Kyle Shanahan, Falcons’ offensive coordinator
The Broncos already had their best fit in Gary Kubiak, an offensive strategist who gave the defense a lot of freedom. That’d be the best setup again. Style-wise, the closest thing on the market is Shanahan, whom Elway obviously knows well.