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Mel Tucker

Team/position: Jacksonville defensive coordinator

Age: 40

Previous NFL head coaching interviews: Tucker had a 2-3 record as Jacksonville’s interim head coach in 2011 but was edged for the permanent position by Mike Mularkey. Tucker agreed to stay as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. Tucker recently interviewed for the vacancy at the University of Wisconsin (his alma mater) before the Badgers hired Utah State’s Gary Andersen.

Why is Tucker radar-worthy?: Entering the season, Tucker’s defensive acumen and work in Jacksonville and Cleveland (2005-08) already earned him mention on the short list of future NFL head coaches. Jacksonville’s defensive slippage this year, which is more personnel-related than because of scheme or coaching, shouldn’t hurt Tucker’s stock too much.

Potential fit: Tucker, a Cleveland native, should draw a look from the Browns if new team management foolishly doesn’t want to give Pat Shurmur a chance to continue the team’s rebuilding project.

Trivia note: Although he is a proud Badger, Tucker cut his coaching teeth elsewhere in the Big Ten. He began as a graduate assistant under Nick Saban at Michigan State in 1997 and was a defensive coach for Jim Tressel at Ohio State from 2001-04 before jumping to the NFL. - Alex Marvez (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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