2. Mike Macdonald, Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator
Another young head coaching candidate is Mike Macdonald of the Baltimore Ravens. The 36-year-old is in his second season as the defensive coordinator under Jon Harbuagh but has been working with him every year except one since 2014.
Macdonald started as a coaching intern in 2014 and worked his way through the ranks. He had several roles until becoming the linebacker coach in 2020. He then left Baltimore for one season to join none other than Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. He was wildly successful as their defensive coordinator and took the same role with Baltimore in 2022. Since coming back to the NFL, he's been a huge addition to their staff.
"Few NFL coordinators have made as much impact as Macdonald this season. The Ravens rank first in yards per play (4.2) and points per drive (1.26) despite battling injuries to key contributors like CB Marlon Humphrey, S Marcus Williams, and EDGE Odafe Oweh. They’re leading the league in sacks (47) with Jadeveon Clowney as their top edge rusher. Between Baltimore’s statistical success, his experience under the Harbaugh brothers, and his willingness to try anything schematically, Macdonald might be the perfect head coaching candidate." — Dallas Robinson, Pro Football Network
Replacing Wink Martindale was no small task but Macdonald did so with ease. He's now going to be in-demand for a coaching gig and if the Browns wanted to lean in on a defensive-minded coach, he would make a lot of sense. Plus, stealing from a rival is always fun.