Who will the Jaguars hire to coach Trevor Lawrence?

The Jacksonville Jaguars’ vacancy is enticing for one big reason: Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

The Jaguars went 1-15, which led to Doug Marrone’s firing on Monday. That awful record also means Jacksonville has the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. Lawrence, one of the most coveted prospects in many years, will likely be the pick.

That means the Jaguars will be at or near the front of the line when it comes to head-coaching vacancies. Many quality candidates would love being attached to Lawrence the next few years. One college coaching legend will get most of the attention early in the process.

Will Urban Meyer want to return and coach in the NFL? (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Urban Meyer could be a Jaguars candidate

When NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said over the weekend that Urban Meyer would be a “top target” for the Jaguars, it created a stir.

Meyer was getting interest from the NFL, if he wants to come back and coach. Meyer was successful in every college stop. He won national championships at Florida and Ohio State. He was 187-32 in college.

Meyer also dealt with health issues, perhaps brought on by the stress of coaching high-profile college programs. The NFL isn’t easy and the Jaguars have lost double-digit games in nine of the past 10 seasons. If Lawrence is as good as advertised he’ll help, but it could still take a while.

Meyer would be a splash hire, as all big-name college coaches are when they jump to the NFL. It would be an interesting experiment to see if Meyer’s college success would translate to the pros. But the Jaguars will have plenty of other interesting options too.

What other candidates might the Jaguars consider?

Here are a few potential candidates for the Jaguars other than Meyer:

Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy: He has been a hot name for a couple years. The Chiefs’ offense has been the best in the NFL the past three years, with Patrick Mahomes becoming the NFL’s best player. K.C. won the Super Bowl last year, went 14-2 this season and Andy Reid’s assistants have a good track record of success. Bieniemy will be a top candidate for any team with an opening.

Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith: Ryan Tannehill’s career revival looks very good on Smith’s resume. The Titans, who won the AFC South on Sunday, have become one of the league’s best offenses with Tannehill, who flamed out with the Miami Dolphins, playing a big part of it.

Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll: He has gotten a lot of credit for Josh Allen’s rapid improvement in his third season. The Bills went 13-3 and Allen is one of the top few candidates for NFL MVP. Daboll has also been an assistant on the staffs of Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. He served as Alabama’s offensive coordinator in 2017 before taking the Bills’ job.

49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh: While it seems logical that the Jaguars would lean toward an offensive-minded coach to pair with Lawrence, they’re not stuck with that line of thinking. Hiring the high-energy Saleh, who gets rave reviews from 49ers players, can lead to plenty of success if he picks the right offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coordinators Byron Leftwich and Todd Bowles: Leftwich was a first-round pick and starting quarterback for the Jaguars. That experience, and a very successful 2020 season calling the Bucs’ offense, will be selling points. Bowles has NFL head-coaching experience with the Jets, which is a tough market. Bowles has done a great job turning around Tampa Bay’s defense.

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