This is the first in a series of posts that will explore the various facets of the NFL draft and the philosophies and philosophies of the head coaches that lead it.
The draft is more than just a mere chance for the draft board to be cleaned up.
It is also a chance to find the best and brightest talent in the country.
It’s a time when coaches can put their own stamp on a draft class that has already had its share of players who have earned the right to be picked in the first round, and a few who could end up being the next Joe Flacco.
Here are some of the coaches that I know who have had a hand in shaping this year’s class, and what they have learned during the offseason:John FoxJohn Fox has been the NFL’s defensive coordinator for the past six years.
He has been in the league for nine seasons, and is one of only three coaches to be a defensive coordinator in the NFL for the entirety of his tenure.
Fox’s career has been full of ups and downs.
In 2011, Fox took over as the Bengals’ defensive coordinator and took a team that had just lost defensive tackle Brandon Mebane and linebacker Vontaze Burfict and turned it around by winning the AFC North and Super Bowl.
The following year, Fox was fired after four seasons as the team’s defensive line coach and brought in a rookie defensive coordinator named Dan Quinn.
But Fox’s first year as a head coach in Cincinnati was a smashing success.
He won the AFC South with an offensive line that was ranked fourth in the conference, a defensive line that led the league in sacks allowed per game, and ranked second in yards per game allowed.
Fox also managed to turn around a franchise that was in the midst of a losing streak.
In 2012, Fox’s Bengals had the best record in the AFC, and in the playoffs they had a record of 7-3.
Fox’s unit finished in the top three in both the total defense and total offense, and the team was so dominant in the trenches that they became the first team since the 1998 New York Giants to win a Super Bowl in their first three seasons.
Fox was the only head coach to win three Super Bowls with Cincinnati and was named to the Pro Bowl four times.
In 2015, Fox moved on to the New England Patriots, who had been a perennial playoff contender under his tenure as head coach.
He guided them to two Super Bowl victories in 2017 and 2018, and was a finalist for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2019.
Fox is not just a defensive-minded coach.
His offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, has been named head coach of the Washington Redskins.
This is a team with a ton of talent on offense, including quarterback Kirk Cousins, running back Alfred Morris, wide receiver Josh Doctson, cornerback Bashaud Breeland, and safety Bashaud Reaves.
The defensive line has been one of the best units in the division for a while, and has been able to compete in the NFC North for years.
Shanahan has done a great job building up the front seven and keeping it intact, and this unit should be able to carry the offense if he decides to keep them.
John SchneiderJohn Schneider is one the most accomplished offensive coordinators in NFL history.
He took over the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005 after spending the previous seven years as head football coach of a franchise with a long and storied history.
Schneider is also the only coach to have won a Super Super Bowl with Philadelphia, the Eagles winning in 1997.
In 2016, Schneider became the 49ers head coach after the team had been the NFC’s worst team for six years, and had missed the playoffs the past two years.
Schneider helped the team to a Super Year in his first season in Philadelphia, finishing in the fourth spot in the Super Bowl standings and making the playoffs for the first time since 1998.
The Eagles finished first in total offense and total defense, as well as third in total defense allowed per Game.
The team also finished third in the National Football League in total yards allowed per contest, and fourth in total points allowed per opponent.
In 2017, Schneider’s Eagles finished in first place in the entire NFL in total yardage allowed, and were a combined 16-3 under his watch.
Schneider also had a successful tenure with the Los Angeles Rams, winning the Superbowl in 2014.
In 2018, Schneider coached the Carolina Panthers to a first-round playoff bye in the franchise’s first championship since 1994.
The Pittsburgh SteelersJohn SullivanJohn Sullivan was the defensive coordinator at the University of Michigan from 2010-2012.
He spent eight seasons with the Wolverines, and his teams finished in third place in total defensive yards allowed and third in overall yards allowed.
Sullivan led the Wolverine defense in total sacks and sacks for a decade, while also leading the nation in interceptions.
He also led the nation with 13 interceptions in the 2013 national championship game.
Sullivan has been