Tuesday is Power Rankings day on ESPN's NFL site, and today's topic was top 10 up-and-coming assistant coaches. For me, this question meant picking which current assistants had the best chance to become NFL head coaches. The rules we established for voting eliminated anyone who'd been a head coach already except for those who'd only worn the title of "interim" head coach, such as Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell.
As a result of Fewell's high profile, the way he's regarded around the league and the number of head-coaching interviews he went on this past offseason, Fewell ranked No. 1 on our list of up-and-coming assistants. He got a taste of the head-coaching seat when he had the interim job in Buffalo in 2009, and he's made no secret of his desire to land a more permanent head-coaching position. Our panel thinks he will, as he was ranked first on four of the eight ballots and named on seven of them.
Fewell finished just ahead of new Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who was one of only two assistants (along with sixth-place finisher Winston Moss) to be named on all eight ballots. Ryan certainly has an opportunity to dazzle in Dallas, where the defense was a major letdown in 2010 and could be poised for a nowhere-to-go-but-up recovery. Dallas also offers Ryan a high profile, and if he succeeds there it could carry more weight with decision-makers around the league when head-coaching positions are being handed out down the line. He's not as likely to move up next offseason as Fewell might be, but he's a guy who's on people's minds.
I threw a 10th-place vote for Cowboys special-teams coach Joe DeCamillis, because I've heard his name mentioned in this capacity a few times. But mine was the only ballot on which he appeared. James Walker of the AFC North blog ranked Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan sixth on his ballot, but that was the only ballot on which he appeared.