Report: 49ers set to interview Wilks for DC vacancy Monday


Following DeMeco Ryans' introductory press conference Thursday in Houston, the 49ers appear well on their way to replacing their former defensive coordinator-turned-Texans head coach.

San Francisco is set to interview former Carolina Panthers interim coach Steve Wilks for the position Monday, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Friday, citing a source.

Wilks remains under contract with the Panthers, but he will not coach the team in 2023 after former Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich was hired for the job last week. NFL Media's Mike Garafolo reported Tuesday that the 49ers had requested to interview Wilks for their defensive coordinator job.

The 49ers also reportedly had their eye on former San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, but he joined the Miami Dolphins in the same role. In Wilks, though, San Francisco could land a coordinator who has plenty of NFL experience and is highly touted by his Panthers players.

Panthers star edge rusher Brian Burns this week told Jordan Elliott of Niners Nation that Wilks is a "great man" who cares about players as humans more than just athletes -- an attitude that aligns with the culture Ryans fostered in the 49ers' locker room. And, similar to San Francisco, Wilks has an affinity for the pass rush.


"Pretty much when [Wilks] took over, I started rushing a lot more," Burns told Elliott. "I used to drop into coverage a ton the previous three years and the first half of this season. So once he took over, I was kind of like all down, ears pinned back and he let me go. That’s definitely something he believes in, front and coverage."

The 49ers certainly have their work cut out for them in replacing Ryans, who led San Francisco's defense to a No. 1 finish in yards allowed per game and points allowed per game during the 2022 NFL season.

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The team reportedly also has requested to interview Washington Commanders defensive backs coach Chris Harris, and NFL insider Josina Anderson reported Thursday that 49ers defensive line coach Kris Kocurek is in the mix for the job, too.

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