Jacksonville Jaguars, NCAA Football

Dabo Swinney leaving Clemson for Jacksonville Jaguars heating up

Can Dabo Swinney and Trevor Lawrence stay together forever in Jacksonville?

Dabo Swinney and Trevor Lawrence win big with Clemson football, but what about in the NFL?

For a while, Lawrence has been seen as the projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The 2020 Heisman Trophy frontrunner is slated to go to an NFL bottom-feeder, some team like the toothless Jacksonville Jaguars. Though it’s still a long way out, what are the chances his head coach Swinney follows him to Duval County to be the next head coach of the Jaguars organization?

Could Trevor Lawrence and Dabo Swinney save Jacksonville Jaguars football?

On ESPN’s Get Up!, former NFL general manager Mike Tannenbaum believes Jacksonville would be Swinney’s best shot of leaving the ACC for the AFC. It would be awfully hard to leave a top-tier college program he has built for the last decade in the Clemson Tigers, but he may never have a better shot at leading his own NFL franchise than he would in Jacksonville potentially in 2021.

“There’s a lot of speculation that Dabo Swinney, who’s been on the short list of multiple head coaching searches, could be a coach that teams want to talk about,” said Tannenbaum. “This would be the perfect storm and here’s why.”

“He’s immensely popular in that area of the country and if he can go with Trevor Lawrence right down the road to Jacksonville, with all those picks and cap room, that’s the ideal situation.”

“I know from talking to a number of NFL general managers, they see Dabo in the same mold as Pete Carroll. A high energy guy. Pete Carrollhas been a coach in the college and the pros. If Dabo Swinney was going to do it, and that’s a big if, this would be the perfect situation…If Swinney would ever go, this would be the perfect storm to do it with, following this season.”

Though you don’t really think about ACC football when you’re down in Duval, as Jacksonville is all about the Jaguars, the Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs, the city is a major college football media market, even if it isn’t as big of one in the NFL. In short, everybody in Jacksonville is well aware of who Swinney and Lawrence and are what they could do for its professional team.

As for the Pete Carroll comparisons, it makes sense in some capacity and not in others. Both are high-energy guys who know how to build a winning college football culture. However, Carroll was a two-time NFL head coach before leaving the USC Trojans for the Seattle Seahawks a decade ago. It’s also important that Carroll is a defensive guy, while Swinney is a former SEC wide receiver.

The only way Swinney should even think about leaving Clemson is if he gets a deal similar to what Matt Rhule got to leave the Baylor Bears for the Carolina Panthers or what Kyle Shanahan got to become the San Francisco 49ers. Reclaiming Jacksonville from the sunken AFC abyss will be a multi-year process. Then again, Swinney killed Clemson-ing forever and always in the 2010s.

Jaguars owner Shahid Khan would have to part ways with general manager David Caldwell and head coach Doug Marrone before handing the keys to his precious franchise over to Swinney. While Swinney may have a drafting advantage after being a long-time college coach, he shouldn’t be in charge of being this team’s general manager. That partnership would be key, though.

So what are the chances Swinney leaves Clemson, South Carolina for Jacksonville, Florida in the next calendar year? Highly unlikely. However, a clean slate, the No. 1 pick and no state income tax feels like a really great entry point for a moribund AFC franchise dying to be relevant to avoid potential relocation. Swinney won’t be the only marquee college coach who could be interested.

Other Power 5 coaches such as Ryan Day of the Ohio State Buckeyes, Lincoln Riley of the Oklahoma Sooners and Matt Campbell of the Iowa State Cyclones may be willing to make the leap to the NFL, as long as they’ve got a franchise quarterback like Lawrence or Justin Fields to hitch their wagon to. Top NFL coordinators like Eric Bieniemy and Brian Daboll could be interested, too.

Swinney leaving Clemson for Jacksonville sounds insane enough that it might actually happen.

Next: 2021 NFL Draft Big Board

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