Monday, March 1

Urban Meyer’s best fits in the NFL: Jaguars, Lions, Chargers offer the most attractive situations

Would Urban Meyer fit in with the pros?

With Black Monday looming in the NFL, that’s a question a handful of franchises might be asking.

Meyer is one of the most successful coaches in college football history. He is one of the 15 coaches with at least three national championships, and he has the third-highest winning percentage of all time at .854.

Meyer, 56, has spent the past two seasons as an analyst on FOX’s “Big Noon Kickoff,” but the NFL buzz has risen in recent weeks. Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer and Pete Carroll are the only three coaches to have won national titles and Super Bowls as head coach.

Several of Meyer’s former Ohio State players They are now scattered throughout the NFL, but Meyer’s last two seasons ended with health problems. The NFL also presents different challenges than the college game.

Is Meyer ready for that challenge? Which NFL teams would fit in? Here’s a closer look at the top three matches.

MORE: The Latest Urban Meyer NFL Rumors

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

On Wednesday, Kyle Rowland of the Toledo Blade reported that Meyer is looking at Jacksonville work. Jacksonville is 1-14 this season, and fourth-year coach Doug Marrone is 12-35 since leading the Jaguars to a 10-6 record and his appearance in the AFC championship in 2017.

Would Jacksonville owner Shahid Khan be willing to take a chance on Meyer? The Blade reports that Meyer owns a home in Florida. The Jaguars’ job could come with less pressure than his past two varsity coach stops at power shows at Florida and Ohio State.

Of course, Meyer could start over with the top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, expected to be Clemson’s quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Could Meyer be successful in the AFC South?

For what it’s worth, former Penn State coach Bill O’Brien led the Texans to four playoff appearances in the past five years. O’Brien had experience as an offensive coordinator in the NFL. Pat McAfee addressed Meyer’s speculation about the “Pat McAfee Show.”

The feeling here seems to be, “Why not?” Meyer’s departure from Florida was unceremonious, but the Gators are succeeding again with one of their former assistants in Dan Mullen.

Of the possible openings, this one still makes more sense. Any other NFL job feels like scope, but we will keep going and push ourselves.

2. Detroit Lions

Would Meyer, who wouldn’t even say the word “Michigan” during his tenure with the Buckeyes, would he fit in that state on a professional level?

That’s more of a question for the fanbase. Meyer dominated Michigan with a 7-0 record while at Ohio State, but what does that really have to do with the NFL?

Former Ohio State linebacker Chris Spielman was hired as a special assistant to Detroit owner Sheila Ford Hamp in the search, and that sparked speculation that the Lions would be willing to look to Meyer for the job.

Lions can’t be that picky. The franchise hasn’t won a playoff game since 1991. Spielman was a Pro Bowl linebacker on that team, and it will be interesting to see where the search for coaches leads his influence.

Detroit is 14-32-1 in the past three seasons with Matt Patricia and interim coach Darrell Befell. Chicago and Green Bay have won the division the last three seasons with rookie coaches Matt Nagy and Matt LaFleur, and the Lions have struggled to keep up with those franchises.

Veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford, who played Meyer’s Florida teams in college while in Georgia, is under contract for the next two seasons.

Could Meyer be the unexpected answer at Mitten State? It would be a wild card.

3. Los Angeles Chargers

Anthony Lynn could be saving his job with a winning streak at the end of the season. However, if the Chargers go ahead, Meyer makes an interesting candidate.

He would pair him with quarterback Justin Herbert, who has enjoyed an unprecedented rookie season. The defense is led by former Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa, who has 7.5 sacks this season. Los Angeles has a talented roster, but the pieces haven’t matched up in recent seasons.

Would Meyer be the right coach to tie that together? Owner Dean Spanos would be taking a risk, but it would be worth taking.

The Chargers made their only Super Bowl appearance in 1994 with coach Bobby Ross, who won the Coaches Poll national championship with Georgia Tech in 1990. Not that it can’t happen again.

Keep an eye on …

New York Jets

It’s a big stage and the Jets are in line to get the second pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Would a Meyer-Justin Fields pair take off to the next level?

Atlanta Falcons

Interim coach Raheem Morris is a candidate for the job, but the Falcons have already tested the college approach with Bobby Petrino. It failed miserably. That has nothing to do with Meyer, but it seems like an unlikely coincidence.

Cincinnati Bengals

This requires passing from second-year coach Zac Taylor, but Meyer would meet former Ohio State quarterback Joe Burrow. Meyer’s son Nate also plays for the Cincinnati Bearcats. We don’t think Cincinnati is going in this direction.

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