5: Ejiro Evero
Ejiro Evero is a talented coach that spent his last season as Defensive Coordinator for the Denver Broncos. Evero walked into that job replacing a defensive legend and a man he spent a lot of time learning from early on in his career, Vic Fangio. Evero was on staff with the 49ers during the Harbaugh and Fangio era, thus making him the perfect guy to lead a defense in this modern-day age when most teams are trying to run some variation of a Fangio-style defense. Evero was also on staff for the Rams’ recent super bowl run where he was the Secondary Coach and the Passing Game Coordinator. Evero would instantly transform this Colts defense into a modern one, from a schematic standpoint. It’s likely that they’d adopt principles that would allow them to fare better against the new passing attacks that are plaguing the league. Making a jump to head coach would be a lot for Evero, but people also thought the same thing for him when he stepped into the DC role for the first time in his career. He not only flourished he exceeded expectations leading the Broncos to a top 5 defense.
4: Mike Kafka
Mike Kafka is a young Offensive Coordinator for the New York Giants. Kafka was a quarterback at Northwestern University where he was a 4th-round draft pick that went on to have a 6-year career in the NFL with multiple teams. That is significant to me because I’m of the belief that when you get a chance to spend time with multiple organizations it makes you a better coach. Getting a chance to see multiple ways to do things and figuring out what works best for you is always an advantage over someone who sees things only one way due to a lack of experience. Mike Kafka as a coach has spent the bulk of his time with the Kansas City Chiefs having multiple roles with the team from 2017-2021. With Chris Ballard leaving in 2017 as Mike arrived, you would have to believe that they have of ton of mutual friendships and relationships and are more than familiar with one another. Spending time with one of the greatest offensive minds in football, Andy Reid, he soaked up a lot of knowledge that he was allowed to put on full display this season with the Giants. The Giants offense, who are very talent deficient, is playing at a borderline top 10-15 level because of the creativity that he and Daboll have brung to this offense. Kafka would instantly be able to get the most out of this Colts offense and his having seen firsthand the development of Patrick Mahomes would make him a great guy for the new Colts quarterback to learn from.
3: Raheem Morris
Raheem Morris is a guy that has been around forever and pretty much saw it all in the NFL. The two-time Super Bowl-winning coach is currently the defensive coordinator for the LA Rams. Raheem got his start during the golden era of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers working with well-renowned coaches such as Jon Gruden, Monte Kiffin, Rod Marinelli, and a young upstart named Mike Tomlin. Naturally, Raheem has Tampa 2 roots defensively owing to when he was coaching one of the greatest defenses in NFL history. He would eventually work his way up from quality control coach to Head Coach at the young age of 32. Raheem clearly wasn’t ready for that role at the time and has spent the last decade in multiple systems building relationships with some of the best minds in the NFL. He’s even spent time coaching the wide receivers for the Falcons during the Matt Ryan and Julio Jones era. After winning a Super Bowl with the Rams last season he’s ready to take a shot at head coaching again. He has the connections to put together an amazing staff and maybe pull in free agents as well with the reputation that he has with the players. Jalen Ramsey had this to say about Raheem Morris earlier this season: “The fact that he’s not a head coach somewhere, for real, is like a blessing for us, especially in that defensive room. Rah is the real (expletive) deal. I ain’t even lying to you. I’m passionate about that (expletive). Rah is like that. His play calling, the way he allows us to play free, fast, with no fear. The confidence he puts in each of us as players. We have great players on the defense and he’s still teaching us things and expanding our game to be even better than we have been in the past”. The fact he’s the only candidate whom we’ve heard about how well his interview went is very telling.
2: Shane Steichen
A guy I’m thoroughly impressed with is Shane Steichen, the Offensive Coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles. At 37 years old Shane has earned a reputation in NFL circles as one of the brightest young offensive minds in the league. He spent the majority of his coaching career with the Los Angeles Chargers, spanning from the Phillip Rivers era to the Justin Herbert era. Shane having a strong relationship with Nick Sirianni and Frank Reich does put this one in doubt a bit for me, which is why he’s at number 3 on my list. Casting those doubts aside, he could have easily been number 1 with what he has done on the field. The past two years he has been instrumental in Jalen Hurts’ development and in turning this Eagles offense into one of the best in the league today. In his first year last season with the Eagles, they started off awful for the first half of the schedule. They went into the bye week, and when they returned, the Eagles' offense was completely revamped. He helped build a proficient run game that catered to the strength of the roster. Steichen is just what this Colts roster needs when it comes to molding an offense to the strength of its players which is how modern offenses should be built. This year the Eagles have a great Passing and Rushing attack that can be dominant consistently, depending on the matchup. Steichen paired with a guy like Anthony Richardson could be flat-out spooky for the NFL.
1: Demeco Ryans
Demeco Ryans may very well be the most in-demand coach of the 2023 cycle. He is currently the Defensive Coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. This 49ers defense has been one of the most dominant units over the last few years. This is the same defense that landed Robert Saleh a head coaching job and is expected to do the same for Ryans. Fairly young in his coaching career, Demeco has only been coaching for 5 years and was promoted to Defensive Coordinator 2yrs ago when Saleh moved on to the Jets. The 49ers defense hasn’t missed a beat since he took over, in fact, one can argue it has become even stronger. The 49ers defense finished number 1 in numerous metrics and has looked dominant for stretches this season. One concern I have with Demeco is the staff he can put together by him not having much coaching experience, but he also had a 9-year career playing and I’m sure formed a lot of relationships on his journey. His passion, intelligence, and the way players respond to him are enough for me to take a chance on him. If Demeco is able to hire a strong OC then his ceiling is through the roof for what he can accomplish with the Colts. At only 38 years old, the future is really bright for Demeco Ryans.