5 best defensive coordinators 49ers can bring in to replace Steve Wilks

Kyle Shanahan said he'll consider both external and internal candidates to replace recently fired defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.

San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks
San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
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Option No. 5: Chris Harris (Titans cornerbacks coach)

San Francisco already interviewed 41-year-old former NFL defensive back Chris Harris in 2023 before settling on Steve Wilks, so one has to assume there's some modest interest there still in the four-time Pro Bowler who had plenty of success with both the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers.

At 34 years old, having served under former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, Harris could be one of those up-and-coming names with an elite playing pedigree to boot.

And while Harris is also not a defensive line specialist, he does have some schematic consistency from his time with the Bolts as a player in 2020 and 2021. Of note, Los Angeles had a 49ers-like scheme in 2020 under then-defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who stemmed from the Seahawks' coaching tree.

Harris would also be relatable to plenty of players, too, given his relatively young age and the fact he also "laced 'em up" as a player, not unlike what the Niners enjoyed with DeMeco Ryans.

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