Names begin to emerge in 49ers' secretive search for a defensive coordinator

The 49ers' hunt for a new defensive coordinator is starting to reveal some names, including a former head coach who is looking for a job.

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley (L) and San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan (R)
Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley (L) and San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan (R) / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

Brandon Staley, among others, are indeed in the running for the 49ers' defensive coordinator vacancy, per the latest reports.

Up until now, the San Francisco 49ers have been awfully quiet about their options to fill the void at defensive coordinator, one made open by the recent dismissal of Steve Wilks after the team's loss in Super Bowl 58.

Speculation led many to believe the Niners would promote from within, which made sense in the wake of almost no reports of scheduled interviews with external candidates, all suggesting head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co. were keeping everything in-house.

However, with the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine kicking off this week, it seemed likely that an internal promotion would have been announced by now.

On Monday, some clarification was added to why the search has been taking so long.

And there are some names that may be somewhat surprising.

49ers have interviewed Brandon Staley, others for defensive coordinator role

NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco delivered the first concrete news about Shanahan's hunt for a new defensive coordinator, relaying information shared by the head coach via text message:

"Coach Kyle Shanahan has completed two official interviews for the 49ers’ defensive coordinator position and 'should finish it all up this week,' he told NBC Sports Bay Area via text message Monday.

The 49ers have completed interviews with former Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley and 49ers defensive passing game specialist Nick Sorensen, Shanahan said."

Staley, who was fired by the Bolts midseason after a rocky and underwhelming tenure as head coach that saw plenty of defensive letdowns and lapses, shares the same agent with Shanahan. So, the ties there are understandable. Additionally, Staley served as the Los Angeles Rams' defensive coordinator in 2020 and operated opposite a Shanahan-like offense that season under LA's own head coach, Sean McVay.

Additionally, Maiocco's report stated that defensive backs coach Daniel Bullocks will interview for the role later this week.

There are also "likely" two other interviews to be conducted for outside candidates later on this week, although no names were mentioned.

In conclusion, Maiocco pointed out that the search is likely to wrap up within a week's time, too, meaning the rest of the NFL world should know who will wind up filling the vacancy by this time next week.

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