The 2014 College Football Coaches Mock Draft
Hello, and welcome to the 2014 College Football Coaches Mock Draft.
By now you’ve looked at roughly 4,796 mock drafts—none of which will come close to resembling the actual NFL draft by pick No. 4. It’s this realization that has prompted us to take a futile exercise and turn the knob a bit further.
Forget about drafting players; we’re making a mockery of such mocks by drafting college coaches.
Yes, I regret to inform you that all of your college teams’ top headset-wearing generals have been tossed into a free-agent pool. The good news is Jon Gruden will now coach all of your teams, though. So at least you have that going for you.
As for this very important exercise, here are the rules: There are no rules.
The NFL team slotted to pick in this year’s NFL draft position will select a college coach instead of a player. The teams with two picks in the first round—St. Louis and Cleveland—will have the honor of adding a college coach as an offensive and defensive coordinator. This is—SPOILER ALERT—wonderful news for Will Muschamp’s agent.
Without further delay, here is the first round of the College Football Coaches Mock Draft followed by your predictable outrage over various omissions.
(And yes, this is satire. Your coach is still your coach as far as we know. Enjoy.)
1. Houston Texans: Nick Saban, Alabama
*It should be noted that the image above expresses Nick Saban’s emotional status upon hearing he is going back to the NFL.
There is no other option at No. 1 pick. It doesn’t matter if you’re a supreme contrarian, an Auburn fan or an Auburn fan who also happens to be a supreme contrarian. This will be the No. 1 pick for the foreseeable future, which is a perfect time to tell you to pocket the he-failed-in-the-NFL pitch.
Yes, he did. But, sir, it’s Nick Saban.
And here you thought you weren’t going to land Nick Saban, Texas. Good things come to those who wait.
2. St. Louis Rams: Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
Is this a bit of a reach? Can Jimbo Fisher play quarterback? These are reasonable questions to ask about the St. Louis Rams’ pick, although the answer to both is a definitive no.
No one—outside of the man picked before him—consistently develops marquee talent at a more impressive clip. It's not just a 2013-14 thing; he's been doing this for some time now.
Also, no one speaks faster than Fisher at press conferences, which feels important. It’s not, but it feels that way.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Urban Meyer, Ohio State
This pick took approximately eight seconds for the Jacksonville Jaguars' brass to make. In fact, five of those seconds were spent celebrating, screaming "DUVVVVVVVAL!" while running around the facility.
Urban Meyer return to a state he knows quite well, a state that he won multiple championships in with teams absolutely loaded with talent and future NFL stars.
The Jaguars, well, have nice new helmets and a pretty neat new logo. That’s about all there is to say at the moment. Oh, and they also have Urban.
4. Cleveland Browns: Gus Malzahn, Auburn
Gus Malzahn's rise is rapid, although the results are impossible to ignore. This is an upside pick, and one that actually had legs in the real world before he nearly won a national championship this past year. He received a nice new contract from his current team in the process.
There are coaches who have been doing it longer, although few offensive minds compare.
On a slightly different note: I’m so, so sorry, Gus.
5. Oakland Raiders: Les Miles, LSU
There’s a distinct possibility that Les Miles will show up to his Oakland press conference dressed in shoulder pads equipped with spikes and two pounds of face paint. In fact, let’s just assume this happens and act surprised if it doesn’t.
In terms of the selection, you could have made the case for other deserving coaches. Few deliver the quality Miles does on a yearly basis, and even fewer have willingly repelled down a building.
6. Atlanta Falcons: Steve Spurrier, South Carolina
Steve Spurrier’s first dance in the NFL didn’t end particularly well. But then again, dancing with Dan Snyder typically results in full pockets, shame and a broken hip.
Even with those NFL concerns, this pick is still a doozy for the Atlanta Falcons. The Ol’ Ball Coach actually has some value, even as early as the No. 6 spot.
He may be almost 70, but he still trolls opposing coaches like a 45-year-old.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
Mark Dantonio’s stock isn’t Malzahn-ian, but it's not far behind.
With plenty of personalities and offensive-minded coaches to choose from, Tampa Bay targets the individual who has a smile quota of five per year. (Note: This quota hasn’t been met since 2004. And he thinks about it every day. The image above actually is his smile. It also took five hours to get this photo.)
He can coach, though, that’s for sure. And the Bucs just landed themselves a good one.
8. Minnesota Vikings: David Shaw, Stanford
What do you do when you have the best running back in the league? Well, you bring in a head coach who consistently puts out brick walls with feet for offensive lines.
David Shaw has been rumored for a handful of NFL jobs the last few years, although he has yet to budge. While we love having him around, this is not optional. His bags are packed.
He’s off to Minneapolis and Adrian Peterson might run for 13,000 yards next year.
9. Buffalo Bills: Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
The coach who has been—and will continue to be—tied with NFL teams in the past lands in Buffalo. Well, that’s one way to break into the league.
Regardless of whether he’s coaching in Buffalo, Canada or eventually Europe for the Bills, Kevin Sumlin can energize a program. It’ll be his job to energize a team that recently paid Dick Jauron hard-earned dollars to coach.
10. Detroit Lions: Chris Petersen, Washington
Once a bonafide top-five lock, the Detroit Lions land one of the best football minds in the entire draft. Chris Petersen may not be flashy—coaching along the lines of that 4.65 40-yard dash that the scouts despise—but goodness can he coach. If you want to win, you draft him.
As coach, his first order of business will be to bench Matthew Stafford for Kellen Moore. It will be hilarious and controversial, and then the Lions will win the division by three games.
11. Tennessee Titans: Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
Consider Bob Stoops the Teddy Bridgewater of this year’s draft. He does everything. He wins and he has produced at a high level for some time. And yet, there’s a small group still valued above him, and his excellence sometimes goes unnoticed.
Tennessee isn’t buying it. The Titans are happy to see him fall. Unfortunately, a quarterback is not included and some assembly is required.
12. New York Giants: Art Briles, Baylor
It’s an odd fit, one Art Briles likely won’t be pleased with at first. But the city of New York will be thrilled to welcome a coach who is personally responsible for giving 1,456 defensive coordinators ulcers. He tracks these things on a scoreboard, one that will be transported to NYC.
Also, if you’re wondering what Briles has in store for Monte Kiffin’s Dallas defense, the answer is too gruesome to describe. You get the idea, though.
13. St. Louis Rams: Will Muschamp, Florida
Before you throw flaming trash at the mock draft—or more trash if your throwing session has already started—I’d like to remind you that this is the Rams’ second pick of the first round.
With Jimbo Fisher on board to handle head coaching duties and the offense, St. Louis selects one of the best defensive coaches in all of football, Will Muschamp. And it’s a brilliant pick. If you want to build a defense, this is who you call.
The Rams have promised that all chalkboards will come with 14 inches of foam padding. This is good news for all parties involved.
14. Chicago Bears: Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
What’s most convenient about this pick is that Brian Kelly will be able to take his speedboat across Lake Michigan to arrive at his new job. You can’t undersell the speedboat move.
Outside of lake travel, the Chicago Bears land themselves one heck of a coach. It’s always nice to find top-10 talent near the middle part of the first round, and that’s exactly what Kelly brings.
Plus, did I mention he is moving by speedboat?
15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Mark Richt, Georgia
Save your jokes; this is a lovely little scenario for Pittsburgh. While he might get overlooked for flashier selections, Mark Richt is a talent. And after seeing his 1,407th player suspended at Georgia before Week 1, he’s pleased to be in a new situation
He’ll win 10 games in his first year in the NFL, although he’ll somehow end on the hot seat after the season. This is protocol, as you know.
16. Dallas Cowboys: Bobby Petrino, Louisville
In the most Dallas Cowboys scenario ever, Jerry Jones lands himself an offensive genius with Arkansas ties.
Here’s what we know about this pick: It could be brilliant, it could be a disaster and someone—coach or quarterback—could be gone after eight games. We also know, sink or swim, we will have ample time for quality Twitter jokes.
That’s the best part.
17. Baltimore Ravens: Dabo Swinney, Clemson
There are few coaches whose greatness goes underappreciated more than Dabo Swinney, although Baltimore isn’t mad about this. In fact, the Ravens are thrilled.
“You know, Dabo is a great coach,” Steve Spurrier says when asked about his verbal sparring partner on television. “And this would have been a great pick if this was the second round.”
And so it begins…again.
18. New York Jets: Charlie Strong, Texas
Charlie Strong is leaving one absurdly unfair market with unrealistic expectations to join...an absurdly unfair market with unrealistic expectations.
The Jets decide it’s time to move on from the Rex Ryan mindset, so they hire a coach who—personality wise—couldn’t be more different.
Welcome to New York, Charlie Strong. And no, they’re not booing you on draft day. They’re saying… okay, they’re booing you. But they boo everyone.
Don’t take it personally.
19. Miami Dolphins: Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
He doesn’t have to play against Bob Stoops every year now, which is good news. The other good news for the Miami Dolphins is they just got themselves a fantastic coach.
Given the locker room issues that have plagued this team over the past year, the Dolphins are taking a different approach this time around: they’re hiring a dancer. Yes, a dancer.
Not a bad idea, Miami.
20. Arizona Cardinals: Jim Mora, UCLA
Jim Mora's first run at the NFL ended poorly, but that was a long before he completely redid his reputation at the college level.
Arizona is willing to risk it with Mora, one of CFB's hottest coaching commodities. In only 12 months, Mora has watched his stock soar from a potential second-round selection to a first-round lock.
It wouldn’t shock at all if one year from now—and we’ll do this again, whether you like it or not—Mora is in the top 10. Buy this stock and hold onto it.
21. Green Bay Packers: James Franklin, Penn State
The Green Bay Packers select a coach who is destined to land them that No. 1 recruiting class they’ve coveted. Oh, we’re changing all the NFL rules now, and that will be Green Bay’s gain.
James Franklin will go from having Christian Hackenberg to Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. That’s like going from an expensive filet (cooked rare, of course) to a slightly more expensive, dry-aged piece of luxury animal.
It is unfair to have both options. Yet, here we are.
22. Philadelphia Eagles: Gary Patterson, TCU
Gary Patterson's stock has taken a dip in recent years.
The move to the Big 12—along with injuries and some off-the-field matters—have also not helped Patterson. But he is still a wonderful coach, and the Philadelphia Eagles believe they have a potential top-10 pick (which he could be) if he returns to form.
At the very least, Philadelphia just landed a coach who cleans his face with more force than any human being.
23. Kansas City Chiefs: Bill Snyder, Kansas State
The only thing keeping Bill Snyder away from the top 10 is his age. Please note: Snyder will likely coach until he’s 130, embarrassing most opponents with an army of JUCOs despite being triple the opposition in age.
Kansas City sees that there are plenty of wins ahead for the 74-year-old. It’s why the Chiefs were thrilled to see him fall.
If you’re even thinking about comparing this pick to Cleveland’s selection of the aged Brandon Weeden a few years ago, don’t bother. (Snyder would probably throw more touchdowns anyway.)
24. Cincinnati Bengals: Gary Pinkel, Missouri
A year ago, Gary Pinkel was on the hot seat. Now, he’s a first rounder. Taking this rise one glorious step further, he’s headed to a team with ample talent on both sides of the ball.
It’s a great fit for both, and it’s a marriage that could work out incredibly well. The only problem, however, is that...[Andy Dalton throws rest of this description to the other team].
25. San Diego Chargers: Bronco Mendenhall, BYU
Consider this the equivalent of that freakish cornerback from a smaller program that sneaks into the first round without warning. At first, you’re a bit surprised to hear his name called. Then you watch the film and look over the measureables, and you’re suddenly shocked that he dropped this far.
It’s a real shame that we couldn’t have a coached named Bronco coaching the Denver Broncos, but clearly we weren’t ready for it yet.
26. Cleveland Browns: Gary Andersen, Wisconsin
Like St. Louis, Cleveland is using its second pick of the first round on defense. And yes, it’s landing a coach that it reportedly flirted with this past offseason.
Andersen’s stock is soaring, and he’ll use his defensive background to handle that side while Gus Malzahn makes other defensive coaches cry openly on television. It’s a wonderful combination, and dare I say that you should actually have hope, Clevelanders.
(Disclaimer: Hope at your own risk.)
27. New Orleans Saints: Mike Leach, Washington State
This move makes a lot of sense. Take your Pro Bowl quarterback and offense ripe with weapons—including a tight end from the video-game realm—and give them a coach who will allow these weapons to run an endless amount of deep patterns.
I’d be lying if I said this particular fit didn’t have something to do with putting Mike Leach in New Orleans and videotaping him at all times. It’s in the contract.
28. Carolina Panthers: Bo Pelini, Nebraska
The team with a colossal cat logo lands college football’s most influential cat enthusiast.
While Bo Pelini oftentimes gets criticized for winning 10 games on command, he has earned his spot in the first round. With Cam Newton and a defense loaded with young talent, Pelini’s 10-win streak appears to be in good hands.
The bigger question—beyond whether he will ride a panther into his press conference—is can he play wide receiver? Or, better yet, does he know a large cat capable of playing wide receiver?
29. New England Patriots: Todd Graham, Arizona State
Todd Graham has decided to coach another football team. This is not a joke (promise) or an attempt at humor. We're simply acknowledging hypothetical facts.
In the process, one of college football’s best and brightest will now operate with Tom Brady. That seems almost unfair. The results could be—and likely will be—awful for the AFC and pretty much everyone in the New England Patriots' path.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Mark Helfrich, Oregon
We’re still trying to figure out just how good of a head coach Mark Helfrich will become, but San Francisco is more than willing to find out late in the first round. If you’re wondering what a Helfrich-Colin Kaepernick offense will look like, the answer is deadly fun.
Like a wide receiver who left college relatively unproven only to deliver a 4.35 40 at the NFL combine weighing 220 pounds, Helfrich could shoot up draft boards in short order.
31. Denver Broncos: Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech
Kliff Kingsbury’s draft stock as a coach is much, much better than it was as a quarterback. He was a sixth-round selection in the 2003 draft; he’s not getting out of the first round here.
This is an upside pick. It’s also a perfect fit, and matching up Kingsbury’s offensive genius with one of the deepest offensive teams in the league makes quite a bit of sense.
My favorite part about this, however, is Peyton Manning’s coach is now four years younger than him.
32. Seattle Seahawks: Rich Rodriguez, Arizona
What do the Super Bowl champs have in store? Well, it’s time to bring in a sheriff.
Rich Rodriguez is poised to help Russell Wilson become slightly more unfair. He's patched up his coaching reputation quite nicely in the past few years, and he sneaks into the very end of the first round.
Why not focus on defense, you ask? Well, because it’s so good, so violent and so fast that you—yes, YOU—could be the DC and the Seattle Seahawks would still lead the league in pretty much every key defensive category.