With the sting of letting Chip Kelly slip through the cracks nearly a year old, the Cleveland Browns are scouting the college ranks for a new head coach for the second straight offseason. This year, the Browns are reportedly heavily interested in the SEC as two inexperienced but winning coaches have caught the Browns’ eye.
Considering how well the Kelly hiring appears to be working for the Philadelphia Eagles, I have no problem with Cleveland’s interest at the college level. In fact, more NFL teams without head coaches need to be proactive in the collegiate game when looking for a new leader. Kelly, Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll all made the jump from college to pro with very little difficulty, so the Browns have some good history on their side if they were to make such a move.
In addition, the Browns hope to be big players in the 2014 NFL Draft, which means they would benefit from having a coach that has had his pulse on the big-name players since they were in high school. Moving forward, the Browns’ path to the postseason isn’t as simple as some may think. In fact, hiring an unproven college coach such as Gus Malzahn of the Auburn Tigers or James Franklin of the Vanderbilt Commodores are both moves that require some patience. And judging by the Rob Chudzinski firing, the Browns really lack patience.
So as the Browns’ head coach search heats up, be sure to keep a close eye on Malzahn, Franklin and an array of other collegiate mainstays who might be willing to make the jump to the NFL.