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The NEXT: NFL Head Coaches

Could Todd Bowles be a NFL head coach in the next few years? Getty Images

In the current issue of ESPN The Magazine, Seth Wickersham wrote a piece in the "NFL department" (that's a fancy term for the area towards the back of the magazine) about the sometimes-clueless nature of executives who own football teams when they pick their new head coach. Read it here if you're an Insider. () Interesting stuff. Now, "suits" tend to move in trend packs, right? Newest trend in NFL coach hiring: go for the young buck (Josh McDaniels, Raheem Morris, Todd Haley, etc). With that in mind, we asked our other NFL main man, David Fleming, to give us his five guys who might be the next crop of head coaches. Before you eviscerate this list, remember this: we all realize Mike Shanahan will probably coach in the NFL again. This is a list of possible first-time guys. Cool? Here we go.

TODD BOWLES
Assistant head coach and secondary coach with the Dolphins. Played eight seasons in the NFL (1986-1993), mostly with the Redskins and since then has been mentored as a potential head coach by a pretty decent judge of coaching character, Mr. Bill Parcells.

JEFF DAVIDSON
Former pro lineman who developed the prototype for the physical, ball-sharing rushing attack with the Panthers only to watch his rising star cool, significantly, when his quarterback Jake Delhomme threw five picks in the Divisional playoffs.

TIE: BRIAN SCHOTTENHEIMER / KYLE SHANAHAN:
Both young. Both talented offensive coordinators. Both sons of former NFL coaches. Both still waiting to make their mark. Both stymied by older, more powerful personalities: Schottenheimer by Brett Favre in NYC and Shanny by Texans head coach Gary Kubiak who still does most of the play calling.

HUE JACKSON
The game is about developing young offensive talent and the Ravens QB coach has a proven track record: Cincinnati's Carson Palmer and Baltimore's Joe Flacco. But he doesn't just work with choir boys. He also coaxed the best out of Bengals bad boy Chad Johnson.

PAT SHURMUR
He's been Donovan McNabb's QB coach in Philly for a decade now. And if you think head coaching candidates need to have experience as coordinators, you probably don't own an NFL franchise—four of the 11 head coaches hired this year had never served as a coordinator.