In consideration for the Eagles and Browns’ defensive coordinator jobs this year, Dennard Wilson is joining the Ravens. Baltimore hired the former Philadelphia assistant as its defensive backs coach.
The Eagles had Wilson in place as a potential Jonathan Gannon successor, and the veteran position coach at a point looked like the frontrunner. Philadelphia promoted from within to fill Shane Steichen‘s OC position, elevating QBs coach Brian Johnson. But the NFC champions went outside the organization to replace Gannon, hiring Seahawks assistant Sean Desai. As could be expected, this meant a separation with Wilson.
Wilson, 40, will return to his home state. He both played high school and college football in Maryland; his Terrapins career spanned from 2000-03. Wilson both coached at his high school and was a graduate assistant at Maryland in the 2000s. He has been an NFL assistant since breaking into the league with the Rams in 2012. Nick Sirianni added pass-game coordinator to Wilson’s responsibilities in 2022, and the Eagles ranked first in pass defense last season. Wilson previously worked as DBs coach for the Rams and Jets. The Browns interviewed Wilson early during this year’s lengthy coordinator hiring period but went with Jim Schwartz.
It appears Wilson will work alongside Ravens defensive pass-game coordinator Chris Hewitt, who has been with the team since 2012. Hewitt previously held the title of defensive backs coach. Former Ravens safeties coach D’Anton Lynn, however, left this offseason to become UCLA’s DC under Chip Kelly. Lynn, 33, worked as Baltimore’s safeties coach over the past two seasons.
The Ravens are also hiring Chuck Smith to be their new outside linebackers coach, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com tweets. The former Falcons defensive end represents a bit of an unusual hire, having not coached at the pro or college levels in recent years. He coached at the University of Tennessee in 2010, though The Ringer’s Lindsay Jones notes Smith has worked alongside Von Miller at the latter’s annual pass rush summits (Twitter link). Smith, 53, played for the Falcons from 1992-99, being part of their Super Bowl XXXIII defense and finishing his career with three double-digit sack seasons. He will replace Rob Leonard, who left last week to become the Raiders’ defensive line coach.