San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans is viewed as one of the top-rising names in the NFL. Playing an instrumental role in the 49ers’ success the past two seasons, head coach Kyle Shanahan could soon lose the best assistant on his staff.
Ryans, age 38, ended his playing career after the 2015 NFL season. The former Pro Bowl linebacker soon joined the coaching ranks, becoming San Francisco’s defensive quality control coach in 2017. He climbed the ladder quickly, replacing Robert Saleh as defensive coordinator in 2021 when the former 49ers’ defensive play-caller left to became the New York Jets head coach.
- DeMeco Ryans career stats: 970 tackles, 72 tackles for loss, 14 takeaways, 13.5 sacks
Just a few years later, San Francisco could be on the verge of losing a top defensive mind for the second time in a very short span.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, many within the 49ers’ organization believe that Ryans is in line to become an NFL head coach in 2023. It’s a feeling shared around the league, with many around the league equally high on Ryans.
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The Alabama native is well-regarded in NFL circles for both his defensive mind, leadership and work ethic. He’s helped shape the No. 1 defense in the NFL and his track record of success with San Francisco’s unit despite numerous injuries speaks for itself.
|Opp. PPG||Opp. YPG||Pressure Rate||Yards per Play||DVOA Rank|
|2021||21.5 (10th)||310 (3rd)||24.1% (20th)||5.1 (4th)||-7.4% (7th)|
|2022||15.8 (1st)||283.9 (1st)||24% (10th)||4.8 (5th)||-15.1% (2nd)|
While the interview process is one of the most important parts of the hiring process, the praise and respect held for Ryans around the league are strong indicators that he will do well. Ultimately, he’ll likely have multiple opportunities to choose from in 2023.
If Ryans leaves, it would mark the third consecutive year that San Francisco lost one of its coordinators. Saleh left in 2021, Mike McDaniel departed to become the Miami Dolphins head coach in 2023 and Ryans is likely next.
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Assuming that happens, the 49ers will receive compensatory third-round picks in the 2023 and 2024 NFL Draft. Under NFL rules, a team receives compensatory picks if one of its minority coaches or executives is hired as a head coach or general manager by another team.