It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that some of the top head coaching candidates around the NFL are almost literally kicking down the doors in Santa Clara for an opportunity to coach the San Francisco 49ers.

After news over the weekend that former NFL head coach Mike Shanahan prefers the 49ers over other teams with current head coaching vacancies, comes this report from Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.

As Branch indicates, the unknown is who sits atop the 49ers list. We previously reported that CEO Jed York has Shanahan atop his list, but the former Los Angeles Raiders, Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins head coach has continued to interview with other teams since meeting with San Francisco’s brass on New Year’s Day. The divorce of Kyle Shanahan, Mike’s son, in Cleveland could also play a role here. The 49ers are said to be interested in a packaged deal.

As it relates to Ryan, this seems like a somewhat odd fit. San Francisco has two in-house candidates to replace Jim Harbaugh on the defensive side of the ball in defensive line coach Jim Tomsula and coordinator Vic Fangio. It remains to be seen how the players would react to the brass selecting an exterior candidate for the head coaching vacancy, especially a defensive-minded candidate.

Then you have the entire situation with Harbaugh, which seemed to be more of an issue between the former 49ers head coach and York. How would an always candid Ryan work with that front office?

With all this said, San Francisco boasts one of the top defenses in the NFL and Ryan is one of the most respected defensive-minded coaches in the league. He has a track record of playoff success and his scheme would evolve to fit the personnel San Francisco already employs on defense.

Photo: Huffington Post