49ers Complete DC Interviews With Brandon Staley, Nick Sorensen

In the wake of the team’s Super Bowl loss, 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks was dismissed. That has created the lone coordinator vacancy remaining in the NFL’s coaching cycle, but the process of filling it is underway.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan informed NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco that a pair of DC interviews have already taken place. Those initial meetings have been with former Chargers head coach Brandon Staley, as well as 49ers defensive passing game specialist Nick Sorensen. Another internal option – defensive backs coach Daniel Bullocks – will likely interview for the position later this week, per Shanahan.

Staley saw his time at the helm of the Chargers come to an end midway through the 2023 campaign. His first HC opportunity did not go according to plan, but his reputation dating back to his time as a position coach and coordinator earned him multiple DC interviews. Staley spoke with the Packers, Rams and Dolphins about their respective vacancies. The San Francisco gig represents the 41-year-old’s final opportunity to land an NFL coordinator position in 2024.

Failing that, Staley could find a role as a position coach on an NFL staff, or he could take on a position in the NCAA ranks (having most recently coached in college during the 2016 campaign). Of course, the former Rams DC could spend a year off the sidelines altogether in a bid to return during the 2025 hiring cycle. San Francisco will also consider in-house options, though.

Sorenson transitioned from playing to coaching over one decade ago, taking his first opportunity with the Seahawks in 2013. He has primarily worked on the defensive side of the ball since then, though his background on special teams landed him the ST coordinator gig with the Jaguars in 2021. After a single season in Jacksonville, the 45-year-old joined the 49ers’ staff. The 2023 campaign was his first in his current capacity.

Bollocks has been in San Francisco since Shanahan’s arrival in 2017. He spent a pair of season as an assistant working with the team’s defensive backs before being promoted to the lead role. After bringing in Wilks from outside the organization, the 49ers could elect to stay in-house with his next hire by promoting one of Bollocks or Sorenson.

Shanahan added that at least two other external candidates are expected to be interviewed in the coming days, though. In all, two minority candidates must be considered to satisfy the Rooney Rule. The 49ers do not have any NFL competition for their DC vacancy, but a decision could be coming soon as the interview process continues.

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