By Max Feldman
The 33 year old Head Coach for the Los Angeles Rams has to be the headliner here. McVay has created a chain effect throughout the rest of the NFL by changing the landscape of how an offense is orchestrated. McVay is 25-8 with the Rams thus far, and coached in his first Super Bowl last season. In LA, McVay has made the Rams a top two offense each year in terms points in the season. Sean McVay’s numbers do not lie and the results continue to come. McVay was a part of the Gruden and Mike Shanahan coaching tree, but at the age of only 33, he already has a coaching tree of his own as former assistants Matt Lafluer and Zac Taylor were hired as Head Coaches in this past offseason.
Shanahan is just 39 years old but has been coaching in the NFL since 2008. In 9 seasons as an offensive coordinator, Shanahan’s offensive placed in the top 12 of the league in 7 seasons. Now, in his 3rd season as the play-caller and Head Coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Shanahan is building upon a rejuvenated 49er roster, and continues to acquire the offensive tools to best acquire the high powered, spread scheme. Much of the load will rely on Jimmy Garappolo to execute and engineer Coach Shanahan’s multitude of schemes. Shanahan is as bright of an offensive mind we have in the league with the proven, innovative play-calling style to build upon for years. The future is bright for Shanahan, and the San Francisco 49er offense.
Taylor, at just 36 years old, has become one of the most underrated offensive gurus through the last few seasons as a descendent of the Sean McVay coaching tree. He began his NFL coaching career at 29 years old as a quarterback coach for the Miami Dolphins. In 2 seasons with the Rams, Taylor coached the wide receivers and quarterbacks, while working closely with McVay to engineer the second ranked offense in yardage and points in 2018. Taylor was hired as the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals last offseason, and faces what looks to be a difficult rebuild. Yet, in game one, Taylor has created positive buzz about what the Bengals may become. Andy Dalton, previously incredibly inconsistent, looked revitalized with confidence and a new handle on a spread, modern offensive scheme. With limited tools in Joe Mixon, a budding star in Tyler Boyd, and an aging and ailing AJ Green, Zac Taylor will need more time to acquire tools as well as repair an underwhelming offensive line. Taylor has a sky high trajectory as a play-caller and head coach.
Moore is the only coach on this list who is currently not a head coach, but at just 30 years old, the former Boise State quarterback appears to be one of the brightest young offensive minds in football. Moore retired from the NFL in 2017, but the next season the Cowboys brought him on as the quarterback coach in 2018. With an assortment of weapons with perhaps the best offensive line in the NFL, the Cowboy offense was underwhelming. Offseason changes resulted in Moore being elevated to the offensive coordinator and play-caller for Dallas. In just a sneak peek preview of what is to come, the Cowboys offense flourished in week one against the Giants. Dak Prescott played like the elite level quarterback he is asking to be paid like, while Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup consistently found space around the field. Time will tell, but Moore’s future looks incredibly promising. Look for Kellen Moore to find a head coaching job sooner rather than later.
Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma Sooners Head Coach)
Riley, 36 years old, is being included on this list because of the openly known interest between NFL franchises, and the architect that built the Oklahoma Sooners offense into what it is, as a future NFL head coach. Since becoming the head coach three years ago, the Sooners have gone 26-4. Riley has produced two consecutive Heisman trophy winning quarterbacks, with another potentially following this season with Jalen Hurts. Riley’s offensive scheme promotes strong armed, shifty quarterbacks along with 2-3 multi-dimensional running backs. Riley’s scheme continues to put up massive numbers and put players in the NFL. Riley’s tenure in Oklahoma is not likely to last much longer.
Graham Harrell (USC Trojans Offensive Coordinator)
Harrell, 34 years old, is a former record-breaking gunslinger at Texas Tech, now bringing his vision and creativity to the coaching game. Harrell was brought on as the offensive coordinator at North Texas in 2016, turning a bottom 10 offense in terms of yards and points into the 19th (2017) and 27th (2018) ranked offenses out of 128 teams in College Football. Harrell holds 8 different NCAA passing records because of the air raid offense, reasonably so, the current OC at USC has built a high tempo, spread scheme that enhances speedy and athletic receivers and high volume throwers with elite arm strength. Whether his next move is to the NFL as an offensive mind, or within the NCAA as a head coach, look for Graham Harrell and his potent offense to arrive to the NFL in the near future.