1. Lincoln Riley
The infiltration of college offensive concepts in the NFL makes Riley a candidate to make the jump. A 19-3 record into his second season as head coach at Oklahoma, with the seamless transition from a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback to a top candidate for the award this year (Kyler Murray), only helps advance that talk. That Heisman-winning quarterback from last year was of course Mayfield, which only bolsters the Riley to the Browns speculation that already existed now that Jackson has been fired.
During the summer, Riley said he did not envision leaving Oklahoma for the NFL.
"Hard to say, it would be really difficult to ever leave this place,” “This place is very invested in me and my family. They gave me a great opportunity, and I think this is one of the best if not the very best job in all of football. So I don’t know. I really, really enjoy the college game. “I don’t know that you can ever say never. I don’t know what the future will hold. But yeah … it’s hard to see myself ever leaving Oklahoma right now."
In the wake of Jackson’s dismissal on Monday, Riley repeated the “right now” sentiment of his assertion from June.
Riley got a raise during the offseason, which boosted his annual average to $5 million per year. But if an NFL opportunity came, he has chosen his words very carefully and it can be assumed he’d listen. The Browns look like a great fit, and a ringing endorsement from Mayfield can be assumed as well.