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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Nick Sorensen
San Francisco 49ers v Minnesota Vikings / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

Ranking the internal candidates for the 49ers defensive coordinator job No.3: defensive passing game/nickels coach Nick Sorensen

Nick Sorensen is a coach that has bounced around in different positions on the 49ers' defensive staff. The following is a write up on Sorensen from Matt Barrows of The Athletic:

"Sorensen is not a prominent member of the coaching staff but he’s had his hand in a lot of different areas over the past two seasons. He filled in at times for Holland with the linebackers in 2022, and he’s also worked with the defensive backs and nickel backs. He even runs the team’s weekly 'takeaway' meetings called 'The Ball.' All of which has given Sorensen a unique, global view of how the defense is run."

Matt Barrows in The Athletic

This could bode well for Sorensen because he has been involved in both the front seven as well as the secondary. Some of the criticism of Wilks has centered on the fact that the front seven and secondary seemed disjointed at times and were not playing in unison.

The case for Sorensen would be that he can act as an intermediary between the schism within the defense and make sure that things are more connected going into next year.

However, when a coach gets fired the replacement will usually be a remedy rather than a replica. That is not to say that Sorensen is the same as Wilks, but Wilks brought with him experience as a defensive backs coach and saw things from the perspective of the secondary.

Traditionally, the 49ers under Shanahan have looked at the defense from the perspective of the defensive line and the linebackers. That is why the next two internal candidates are heavily involved in those position groups.