Ranking the internal candidates for the 49ers' defensive coordinator job

Recent reporting suggests that the 49ers plan to fill their defensive coordinator role internally. This article will rank the internal candidates.

Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
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The San Francisco 49ers fired defensive coordinator Steve Wilks after one season. Recent reporting suggests the team plans to fill the role internally.

This article will rank the potential internal candidates.

Ranking the internal candidates for the 49ers defensive coordinator job

While the firing of Wilks was somewhat controversial since it seemed to be an instance of scapegoating, it did not come as much of a surprise to those who followed the 49ers all year.

The defense was not atrocious by any means, but there was a nagging feeling throughout the year that the defense was not quite living up to its full potential and that there was some sort of disconnect.

The firing of Wilks seems to confirm that Kyle Shanahan felt the same way. In explaining his decision, he talked about how it was never a "right fit" between Wilks and the Niners which definitely opens him up to criticism about why he hired Wilks in the first place.

Wilks came in with his own preconceived notions about how a defense should be run and Shanahan and the 49ers essentially tried to make a round peg fit inside a square hole. They hoped that Wilks would eventually adapt to their style of defense, and he certainly tried to, but the transition was harder than probably both sides anticipated.

However, what is done is done. Nothing can be done about the past. Instead, Shanahan absolutely must get this next defensive coordinator hire right. With many of the core pieces from the defense under contract for the foreseeable future, there is no more time for a risky hire that does not gel with the defensive system.

It makes a lot of sense why there is reporting that Shanahan wants the next DC to come from within. What better way to guard against an awkward adjustment period than to hire someone who has been steeped in the team's defensive system ever since Shanahan took over.

The following slides will rank the internal candidates in terms of their potential fit for the defensive coordinator role.