NFL Coaches in the NFL Draft

Of the 32 active NFL head coaches, 5 were previously drafted by NFL teams.

Kliff Kingsbury, Cardinals

Before the Ryan Gosling lookalike coached Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech, where he had previously set many QB records, he was a 6th round pick (#201) in the 2003 Draft by the New England Patriots.

This is a great example of how old Tom Brady is. He’s so old, that the Cardinals head coach was previously his backup. He spent his rookie season in 2003 on the injured list, but was rewarded with a Super Bowl ring.

Kingsbury played one NFL game – 11/20/2005 for the Jets (at Denver). In a game the Jets lost 27-0, he came in for garbage duty at the end, completing 1-2 passes for 17 yards. And that’s his cumulative NFL career stats.

Dan Campbell, Lions

Campbell is entering his first year as a head coach, after being hired by the Lions in January. Campbell experienced a 10 year playing career as a tight end for the Giants, Cowboys, and Lions.

In 1999, Giants drafted him in the 3rd round, #79 overall. He caught just 11 touchdowns in his career and was known more for being a blocker than a receiver.

Frank Reich, Colts

Colts head coach Frank Reich was drafted by the Bills in the 3rd round, #57 overall in the 1985 Draft out of Maryland. His primary role was serving as a backup to Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly. From 1985-1994, he started just 8 games, going 4-4 as the starter. Overall, Reich’s teams went 5-15 with him as starting QB.

Reich famously started 2 playoff games in 1992, due to an injury to Kelly. In the Wild Card game, the Bills trailed 41-3 and Reich led them to a historic comeback, winning 41-38. It was and still is the largest comeback in NFL history. The Bills would advance to Super Bowl XXVI that year.

He also spent time with the Lions, Panthers, Jets.

Mike Vrabel, Titans

The second head coach on this list with a connection to Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Steelers drafted Vrabel in the 3rd round of the 1997 Draft (#91 overall). After 4 years in Pittsburgh, he signed with the Patriots (2001-2008) where he won 3 Super Bowl rings. In 2007, he was named to his only Pro Bowl and an All-Pro.

While Vrabel spent his whole career playing defense (4 with Steelers, 8 Patriots, 2 Chiefs), recording 57 sacks, 11 interceptions, 19 forced fumbles, 41 pass deflections. Occasionally, he was used as a redzone option on offense and caught 8 passes (on 11 targets) for a combined 11 yards and 8 touchdowns, giving him the greatest catch:TD ratio in NFL history.

Ron Rivera, Washington Football Team

Rivera represents the highest draft pick among active head coaches – he was picked in the 2nd round (#44 overall) by the Bears, where he spent his entire 9 year career. He was part of the famous 1985 Bears team, that defeated the Patriots 41-10 in Super Bowl XX.

In 1983, he was PAC-12 Defensive Player of the Year but never quite lived up to the hype in the NFL. He finished his career with 7.5 sacks, 6 fumble recoveries, 9 interceptions all with Chicago.

Mike is an alum of the University of Cincinnati and the ultimate sports nerd.

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