Inside the Minds of the NFL’s Six New Coaches
Understanding their football philosophies gives insight into the draft
The MMQB begins a series of inside-inside football stories and video pieces for the 2017 season with a view into the life of ESPN NFL information czar Adam Schefter on his busiest day of the year: the kickoff day to NFL free-agency.
The best thing about the NFL draft is that it forces honesty. In the decisions they make, coaches and GMs tell us what they really think about their players and how they really feel the game should be approached. This year, six teams will make decisions with new head coaches. Aside from Doug Marrone in Jacksonville, they’re all first-time head coaches. Here’s an overview of each man’s core beliefs and how it will impact his team’s draft.
Los Angeles Rams
San Francisco 49ers
Amazingly, Shanahan thrived with this despite only having two players amongst his running backs, fullbacks and tight ends who could pose problems in both the running game and passing game: Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. In San Francisco, he may not have any. Carlos Hyde is a classic running back. Kyle Juszczyk is an adept passing game fullback, but not to the extent that he can split out wide or in the slot. Tight end Vance McDonald could maybe play the slot, but he won’t scare opponents if aligned on an island. Imagine how potent Shanahan would be if he had some mismatch-makers at these positions. Expect the Niners to look for versatility at running back or tight end.
Los Angeles Chargers
This doesn’t mean the Chargers will draft a receiver. With Keenan Allen back healthy, they’re much deeper here than people realize. Travis Benjamin gives them speed, Dontrelle Inman is a tremendous route runner and Tyrell Williams, though raw, can be a big downfield weapon. Plus, tight ends Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry give the pass designs texture and dimension. But the Chargers have learned the hard way that your pass designs are only as effective as your pass protection. The interior of this offensive line needs shored up. Whoever starts at guard/center must be big and mobile, which likely means he’ll have to be an early round pick. Because when Lynn does keep it on the ground, he’ll feature pull-blocking concepts and road-grading double-teams. That’s what he ran in Buffalo and that’s what best fits third-year tailback Melvin Gordon.
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