2. Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson, the offensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions, has quickly become one of the hottest names in coaching. Johnson has developed the Lions into one of the best offenses in the league and led the charge in the Jared Goff reclamation project.
Last offseason, Johnson was at the top of many prospective lists to land a head coaching gig. Even so, the Lions play caller turned down an in-person interview with the Carolina Panthers and removed his name from consideration with the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans. Explaining his rationale, Johnson was incredibly complimentary of the situation in Detroit and said that he didn't "want to ruin a good thing".
Despite Johnson's apparent admiration for Detroit, his name will continue to percolate in connection with coaching vacancies, whether he wants it to or not.
If the Patriots do select a quarterback with a top pick, that could incentivize the team to pair said rookie QB with an offensive-minded head coach that can mentor him, while retaining Jerod Mayo to run the defensive side of the ball. This model has become increasingly prevalent in today's NFL.
The 37 year old spent three seasons on staff with Boston College early in his coaching days, so there is an element of familiarity with the region.
Given the team's dreadful performance this year, Kraft could have some apprehension about a first-time head coach. First-time head coaches can be a game of roulette, and Kraft might elect to take a more conservative route and pursue a coach with a proven track record.
Similarly to Harbaugh, Kraft has to at least test the waters on Johnson, especially if they are committed to taking a quarterback towards the top of the draft board.