It certainly seems fitting that one of the first teams to benefit from the new expansion of the Rooney Rule would be none other than the Baltimore Ravens.
Late last year, the NFL announced that teams who lose a coach or front office executive of minority ethnicity to a head coaching or general managerial (or equivalent) position to another team would be rewarded with draft pick compensation.
The most recent head coaching hiring cycle has included seven job openings. Two were filled with outside minority hires. The first was the New York Jets in their decision to hire Robert Saleh, the defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers. This was hardly a surprise, as he had been a top head coaching candidate for a few cycles now.
The Houston Texans’ decision last night to hire David Culley, however, came out of left field. The 65-year-old has spent the past two seasons nominally as the assistant head coach for the Baltimore Ravens, along with being the wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator. He was also assistant head coach and wide receivers coach for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2013 to 2016.
By and large, however, he has been little more than a wide receivers coach, and with a fairly unremarkable track record. He entered the NFL in 1994 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and actually spent a few years between 1996 and 1998 with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He left for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1999, where he remained through the 2012 season, following Andy Reid to the Chiefs thereafter.
But it’s not very common at all for a coach who has never held a coordinator position in the NFL to receive a head coaching opportunity, and the bulk of those who have made the jump from assistant coach have been quarterbacks coaches.
This would be like if John Mitchell had gotten a head coaching job, who has technically been an assistant head coach under head coach Mike Tomlin since 2007, but has otherwise never held a job in the NFL above the level of position coach.
Nevertheless, what this means is that the Ravens will have two extra third-round draft picks to work with, one during the 2021 NFL Draft and one in 2022. And now the Ravens will have to find a new passing game coordinator—for an offense that throws the ball less than everybody else in the NFL by a good margin.