2024 AFC Coaching Changes: First Round Mock Draft

2024 AFC Coaching Changes: First Round Mock Draft

The NFL offseason is full of drama as teams change their rosters in hopes of better outcomes next year. The worst teams usually get a head start on this. Let’s look at the 2024 head coaching changes and a first-round consensus mock draft.

We look at the players on the field, but the front office and coaching staff are the first to see change. We had several coaches fired before the end of the season last year, which led to changes in the scheme and team philosophy.

This could also help us predict offseason moves with free agency and the NFL Draft. Coaches tend to bring in players that are familiar with their schemes and systems. We also know their tendencies, which give us an idea of what type of players they might be looking for.

Jim Harbaugh bringing in his buddy Greg Roman was pretty predictable. We also expect them to follow this up by addressing this offense line as they look to establish the run.

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2024 AFC Coaching Changes: First Round Mock Draft

Last offseason, we saw teams like Indianapolis and Houston turn their teams around under a new coaching staff. Specifically, their offenses were much improved for both teams.

We have two interim coaches who got promoted to the real deal. Antonio Pierce went from interim to the head coach for Las Vegas, while Joe Brady earned the offensive coordinator job in Buffalo. Now, let’s talk about how these moves might affect the team’s 2024 outlook.

Buffalo Bills

Record: 11-6
Offensive Rank: 6th
Defense Rank: 3rd
Consensus Mock Draft: WR – Keon Coleman, Florida State

Buffalo Bills  2023 2024
Head Coach Sean McDermott Sean McDermott
Offensive Coordinator Ken Dorsey Joe Brady
Defensive Coordinator N/A Bobby Babich

 

The Buffalo Bills had a great season, finishing in the top six in scoring on both sides of the ball. They won their division and won a playoff game. Unfortunately, they ran into the Kansas City Chiefs.

Joe Brady brought a balanced approach that saw the team improve in both rushing production as well as overall scoring. This balanced approached paired well with their defense, Josh Allen played at an MVP level.

This earned Joe Brady the full-time role as offensive coordinator. Leslie Frazier retired, allowing the Bills to promote from within as well. Babich has worked as a position coach, helping to develop many of Bill’s current players.

Sean McDermott will still call plays on defense. The end-of-season Buffalo Bills are what the 2024 Bills will be. Expect the team to add pass catchers and defensive backs this offseason. Both positions have older starters and needs.

Miami Dolphins

Record: 11-6
Offensive Rank: 3rd
Defensive Rank: 22nd
Consensus Mock Draft: OT – Troy Fautanu, Washington

Miami Dolphins 2023 2024
Head Coach Mike Mcdaniel Mike Mcdaniel
Offensive Coordinator Frank Smith Frank Smith
Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio Anthony Weaver

 

Anthony Weaver comes over from the Baltimore Ravens. He was their defensive line coach but also their assistant head coach. He’s a respected young coach who has been rising up the ranks quickly.

This is his first year as a coordinator, but he has made hints of bringing the Ravens scheme to Miami. Vic Fangio was fired, and the Miami Dolphins players went to social media to show their support for the move.

Both of their top pass rushers are coming off of major injuries. This should be a major focus this offseason: pass rush. On offense, they have several free agents and an older left tackle.

Look for Miami to address the trenches this offseason. No changes on the offensive coaching staff are a good sign for the offense, especially Tua. The young quarterback had three offensive coordinators in her first two seasons.

New England Patriots

Record: 4-13
Offensive Rank: 31st
Defensive Rank: 14th
Consensus Mock Draft: QB – Jayden Daniels, LSU

New England Patriots 2023 2024
Head Coach Bill Belichick Jerod Mayo
Offensive Coordinator Bill O’Brien Alex Van Pelt
Defensive Coordinator Steve Belichick DeMarcus Covington

 

This team was really bad last year, and their roster is in need of a makeover. Jerod Mayo takes over as the head coach. It was just nine years ago when he was running their defensive from his middle linebacker position.

Mayo started as the team’s inside linebackers coach in 2019. It was a big jump from linebackers coach straight to head coach. Their defensive line coach, DeMarcus Covington, takes over as their defensive coordinator.

Neither has called plays on the defensive before, but Covington claims the scheme will be similar moving forward. Alex Van Pelt takes over an offense that was tied for last place in scoring.

His Browns overcame losing both starting tackles and had four different starting quarterbacks. He has called plays and was an offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills in 2009. Van Pelt held various positions before becoming the offensive coordinator in Cleveland in 2020.

Kevin Stefanski called plays, but we can expect a variation of this offense in New England. Cleveland is known for being heavy on 12-personnel (1 RB -2 TE) sets.

They used a two-headed backfield and a heavy running game. Using a lot of play-action off of the running game in Cleveland. The team is in line for a top quarterback. The offense under Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels could look a little different.

New York Jets

Record: 7-10
Offensive Rank: 29th
Defensive Rank: 10th
Consensus Mock Draft: OT – Olumuyiwa Fashanu, Penn State

New York Jets 2023 2024
Head Coach Robert Saleh Robert Saleh
Offensive Coordinator Nathan Hackett Nathan Hackett
Defensive Coordinator Jeff Ulbrich Jeff Ulbrich

 

No changes on the coaching staff. Just prayers from Jets fans that Aaron Rodgers can stay healthy. The New York Jets season ended last year when Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles on their first drive. They won the game, but the team really struggled on offense. No changes in the scheme on either side of the ball are expected. But expect New York to go shopping on offense.

Aaron Rodgers needs to be protected. They will use their resources there. We could see them find a way to add a capable back up and possibly a long-term answer.

Sam Howell could be available in trade, but the Jets need someone else behind Rodgers. Garrett Wilson was great, but they need more options on offense after him. Look for them to add a pass-catcher or two this offseason, too.

Baltimore Ravens

Record: 13-4
Offensive Rank: 4th
Defense Rank: 1st
Consensus Mock Draft: OT – Jordan Morgan, Arizona

Baltimore Ravens 2023 2024
Head Coach John Harbaugh John Harbaugh
Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken Todd Monken
Defensive Coordinator Mike MacDonald Zach Orr

 

Baltimore was up there with the Buffalo Bills as the most balanced team in the NFL. They came up short in the playoffs, as to the Chiefs. But, during the regular season, they looked unstoppable.

From point differential to turnovers, they won big in every category. Todd Monkey really helped improve this offense, and Mike MacDonald played himself into a head coaching job.

The offense will be the same. Look for the team to continue to add pass catchers and fortify the offensive line. The biggest changes will be on defense.

They lost defensive coordinator Mike MacDonald and assistant head coach/defensive line coach Anthony Weaver. Zach Orr has said we will see a similar attacking style. On defense, look for them to add pass rushers and corners.

Cincinnati Bengals

Record: 9-8
Offensive Rank: 16th
Defensive Rank: 20th
Consensus Mock Draft: OT – Amarius Mims, Georgia

Cincinnati Bengals 2023 2024
Head Coach Zac Taylor Zac Taylor
Offensive Coordinator Brian Callahan Dan Pitcher
Defensive Coordinator Lou Anarumo Lou Anarumo

 

This was a nightmare season for Cincinnati. Their defense really struggled because of their offensive issues. Joe Burrow started the season banged up from a calf injury he sustained in training camp.

This limited him at the beginning of the season. He finally started to look like himself, and then he suffered a wrist injury that ended his season. Injuries to both Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase added to their woes.

Both play-callers are returning, and there is no expected change to the scheme. This team will be focused on protecting Joe Burrow and retaining backup Jake Browning.

Tee Higgins is expected to be tagged, but they could look into adding a contingency plan. This team is strapped for cash, and although Chase Brown flashed, they are expected to add a running back. Joe Mixon could be a cap casualty this year or next.

Cleveland Browns

Record: 11-6
Offensive Rank: 12th
Defensive Rank: 13th
Consensus Mock Draft: Edge – Jonah Ellis, Utah (2nd Round)

Cleveland Browns 2023 2024
Head Coach Kevin Stefanski Kevin Stefanski
Offensive Coordinator Alex Van Pelt Ken Dorsey
Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz Jim Schwartz

 

The 13th ranked defense is misleading, that is based on points allowed. Cleveland’s defense was really good this season in all major categories. Their top corners had the #1 and #2 lowest quarterback ratings when targeted in 2023.

Some points allowed were due to the issues they had on offense as they rotated quarterbacks. Both of their play-callers are returning. No scheme changes on this team, they just hope to stay healthy.

This team lost their top three tackles, their quarterback, and Nick Chubb last year. Chubb is returning but had a multi-ligament injury. That, combined with his age and injury history, could put Cleveland in the market for a running back.

Jerome Ford was good last year but not great. Outside of Amari Cooper, the wide receivers struggled, and they could look to add another wide receiver.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Record: 10-7
Offensive Rank: 28th
Defensive Rank: 8th
Consensus Mock Draft: C – Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon

Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 2024
Head Coach Mike Tomlin Mike Tomlin
Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada Arthur Smith
Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin Teryl Austin

 

Pittsburgh’s offensive struggles over the past three seasons have really wasted some great defenses. The offensive line, the quarterback, the play-calling, all of it has been bad.

This team added Arthur Smith, who is a proven play-caller, but his inability to use his top players is well-known. Look for this team to address the offensive line and the quarterback this offseason.

We know Arthur Smith has a run-heavy approach. This team has a great duo of backs. He likes to use two tight ends. They could add another tight end. He likes a quarterback with mobility, and that brings us to the NFL Draft, as well as some potential free agents.

The Steelers have been linked heavily to both Russell Wilson and Justin Fields. Both make sense, but they could also be in the market for a Bo Nix or a J.J. McCarthy in the draft.

They have already cut Mitch Trubisky, and Kenny Pickett is still under contract. Mason Rudolph also finished their season as a starter.

The answers is not currently on their roster, I would expect Ryan Tannehill to be another option for this team. He is familiar with the scheme and could at least act as a bridge or a backup.

Sorry, Pittsburghers, it’s a possibility you have to prepare for. Who do you want to be the next Steelers quarterback?

Houston Texans

Record: 10-7
Offensive Rank: 13th
Defense Rank: 11th
Consensus Mock Draft: DL – Byron Murphy, Texas

Houston Texans 2023 2024
Head Coach DeMeco Ryans DeMeco Ryans
Offensive Coordinator Bobby Solwik Bobby Solwik
Defensive Coordinator Matt Burke Matt Burke

 

The Houston Texans were the winners of the 2023 offseason. They hit home runs on the coaching hires and in the NFL Draft. The biggest turnaround in the league will be expected to follow up this year.

Houston retained their entire coaching staff and will look to build on their success. Key free-agent Nico Collins will be a priority, but they could still dip into the free-agent market.

An expectation is that they will be focused on building up this defense. They have some needs, young pieces, and some older free agents. On offense, this is a team that could afford to pay a running back.

C.J. Stroud is on his rookie deal, and they have a young roster. Dameon Pierce didn’t fit well into the scheme last year, and they could look to upgrade from Singletary. Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, or Tony Pollard could be available options for this offense.

Indianapolis Colts

Record: 9-8
Offensive Rank: 11th
Defensive Rank: 28th
Consensus Mock Draft: CB – Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo

Indianapolis Colts 2023 2024
Head Coach Shane Steichen Shane Steichen
Offensive Coordinator Jim Bob Cooter Jim Bob Cooter
Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley Gus Bradley

 

The Indianapolis Colts were runners-up to Houston in offseason awards. This coaching staff did a phenomenal job, and they only had their 1st round pick for three games. Gardner Minshew had a career year that was one completion from a playoff birth.

The trajectory is pointing straight up for this team, which is young. Jonathan Taylor’s contract concerns are a thing of the past. They will look to retain Michael Pittman Jr.

The defense needs some work, and this offseason, they will be pouring resources into that. They struggled tremendously on defense, particularly in their division. Look for pass rushers and cover guys to help them keep up with C.J. Stroud as well as Trevor Lawrence. No scheme changes or play-calling changes, so we should see a lot of the same from Indy in 2024.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Record: 9-8
Offensive Rank: 15th
Defensive Rank: 16th
Consensus Mock Draft: WR – Brian Thomas Jr., LSU

Jacksonville Jaguars 2023 2024
Head Coach Doug Pederson Doug Pederson
Offensive Coordinator Press Taylor Press Taylor
Defensive Coordinator Mike Caldwell Ryan Nielsen

 

Jacksonville made so much progress from 2021 to 2022, but in 2023, they regressed. On offense, those added pieces just were not great. The problem is the offensive line.

Their offensive line graded out very poorly, and their struggles affected everything. Trevor Lawrence got hurt, they couldn’t sustain drives, and the defense was constantly on the field. Look for them to attack the offensive line and add a pass-catcher.

Calvin Ridley is likely out of town, if they resign him it will cost them a second round pick. If they let him walk, they will give up a 3rd round pick. But likely get a 3rd round pick back next year in compensatory picks.

Look for them to add a wide receiver and some offensive line help. On defense, Ryan Nielsen comes over from Atlanta. Look for him to get some pieces in the secondary to help this defense.

Tennessee Titans

Record: 6-11
Offensive Rank: 27th
Defensive Rank: 15th
Consensus Mock Draft: OT – Joe Alt, Notre Dame

Tennessee Titans 2023 2024
Head Coach Mike Vrabel Brian Callahan
Offensive Coordinator Tim Kelly Nick Holz
Defensive Coordinator Shane Bowen Dennard Wilson

 

This Tennessee Titans team is wildly different than it was just last year, but a total transformation from 2022. They have a different front office and different coaching staff, and the stars are almost all gone.

Derrick Henry appears to be out the door and he was the identity of this offense. Mike Vrabel was really the identity of the rest of the team. He is definitely gone.

Brian Callahan comes in from the Sean McVay tree via Zac Taylor and the Cincinnati Bengals. Look for him to bring a similar scheme and approach.

Tennessee’s offensive struggles were well-documented. Look for them to address the offensive line. They added Tyjae Spears in the second round and still have first-rounder Treylon Burks on the roster.

DeAndre Hopkins is there as well, but the team could still add a pass-catching option. If they pass on the offensive line, Rome Odunze or Brock Bowers would be big boosts to this offense. But my money is on them taking Joe Alt or another top tackle.

Dennard Wilson started his coaching career under Jeff Fisher, bringing this thing full circle. A former player who specializes in the defensive secondary.

He was Baltimore’s defensive backs coach last year after spending the last two seasons with Philadelphia. This will be his first year as a play caller, but he has experience as a passing game coordinator. Look for a similar scheme and look for this team to address the secondary this offseason.

Denver Broncos

Record: 8-9
Offensive Rank: 20th
Defense Rank: 27th
Consensus Mock Draft: QB – Bo Nix, Oregon

Denver Broncos 2023 2024
Head Coach Sean Payton Sean Payton
Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi Joe Lombardi
Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph Vance Joseph

 

The Denver Broncos had a busy offseason last year, but it didn’t result in that much success. That being said, the team did play better. Russell Wilson and the offense were more efficient, as well as took care of the ball. Wilson saw increases in completion percentage and quarterback rating, and we saw more production.

On defense, they turned things around after the famous Miami 70-burger. All the coaches are coming back, but the quarterback likely is not.

The two biggest decisions will be Russell Wilson and Jerry Jeudy. I think they are both gone; the signs are there, and I don’t think many will be surprised. This means the team is likely to target these positions this offseason.

They will also need to build up a defense that is young and in need of some pass rush. I think Bo Nix is a good fit here if they don’t keep Wilson or turn to Fields. Nix has plenty of experience and can come into play right away.

They do not have a second round pick, they could try to move back to get one back. Denver is being mocked for J.J. McCarthy and for Bo Nix right now. McCarthy has a lot less experience, but there is plenty of support.

Scouts are calling for him to be a top-10 pick potentially. Well, so was Will Levis, and we will have to see. Denver could also set their eyes on Michael Penix in a trade-back scenario.

Kansas City Chiefs

Record: 11-6
Offensive Rank: 14th
Defensive Rank: 2nd
Consensus Mock Draft: WR – Adonai Mitchell, Texas

Kansas City Chiefs 2023 2024
Head Coach Andy Reid Andy Reid
Offensive Coordinator Matt Nagy Matt Nagy
Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo Steve Spagnuolo

 

Kansas City’s offense had some struggles this year. Their tackles were average at best, and their wide receivers couldn’t line up onside. Travis Kelce was slowed down during the regular season by injuries.

This absolute nightmare season ended up with them winning another Super Bowl. And they will get all of the coaches back on top of probably getting Eric Bienemy back. Their defense was great, and they are young.

Look for Kansas City to attack the offensive tackle market and wide receivers this offseason. Rashee Rice was great, but they need something else.

Travis Kelce is likely gone after this season as well, they could look for a contingency plan at the tight end position. When they draft another wide receiver in round 2 this season, draft him in fantasy football.

Las Vegas Raiders

Record: 8-9
Offensive Rank: 23rd
Defensive Rank: 7th
Consensus Mock Draft: OT – J.C. Latham, Alabama

Las Vegas Raiders 2023 2024
Head Coach Josh McDaniels Antonio Pierce
Offensive Coordinator Mick Lombardi Luke Getsy
Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham Patrick Graham

 

It is extremely rare that an interim head coach gets the job. A lot of people and players were pretty frustrated when Las Vegas didn’t retain Richard Bisaccia just two seasons ago.

Josh McDaniels didn’t work out again. This offense was horrible under him. He brought in Jimmy Garoppolo, who could not stay healthy again. Aiden O’Connell played well for a rookie, but they are likely looking for a fresh new start at quarterback.

Luke Getsy comes over from Chicago with mixed reviews. Ironically, they are rumored to be in the Justin Fields market. I am not sure if that makes a lot of Raiders fans excited.

Chicago’s offense was not much better. Las Vegas had big decisions at running back as well. Zamir White played great and showed they might not need Josh Jacobs. They have options in the draft as well. Jacobs is likely gone. But there is still an outside shot he will be retained.

The team will look to fortify the offensive line as part of this offensive rebuild. Las Vegas’ defense played extremely well last season. They could use some help in the secondary, but this group played inspired under Antonio Pierce. Look for them to focus on the offense this offseason.

Los Angeles Chargers

Record: 5-12
Offensive Rank: 21st
Defensive Rank: 23rd
Consensus Mock Draft: TE – Brock Bowers, Georgia

Los Angeles Chargers 2023 2024
Head Coach Brandon Staley Jim Harbaugh
Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore Greg Roman
Defensive Coordinator Derrick Ansley Jesse Minter

 

The Chargers made a big splash, grabbing Jim Harbaugh from Michigan. Hot off of a National Championship, Harbaugh comes over to the Chargers. He brought over his defensive coordinator as well.

Harbaugh was quick to turn to Greg Roman for his offensive coordinator. Roman was with him for their Super Bowl run, and their middle linebacker, Navarro Bowman, will coach the linebackers.

We know what this team looked like and how they were built back in San Francisco. Look for a similar approach, especially with the offense. This team was built on a strong offensive line and a tough running game.

Carlos Hyde and Frank Gore are more of your power backs. They had an athletic tight-end, Vernon Davis and their wide receivers were expected to block. These were tough teams, and that is what you will see.

On defense, this team needs a lot of help. But they do have a lot of pieces. They may have to move on from Khalil Mack for financial reasons. But this should be a 3-4 front that could really fit Khalil Mack well. Derwin James will fit in any defense, but this team will need to get some corners. That is a big hole, and luckily, this draft has some good ones.

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