The San Francisco 49ers have a void at the defensive coordinator position, and Steve Wilks has emerged as a top candidate to fill it. The former coordinator, DeMeco Ryans, is leaving to become the head coach of the Houston Texans.

According to Aaron Wilson of Houston station KPRC, via Twitter, the 49ers have requested to talk to Steve Wilks, and per Adam Schefter of ESPN, the team has also requested to interview Chris Harris for their defensive coordinator spot.

Wilks was the interim coach for the Carolina Panthers before the team decided to hire Frank Reich for the same position last week. He was the Panthers defensive coordinator before becoming the head man when the team fired Matt Rhule. Wilks also had a stint with the Cleveland Browns as DC after being the head coach for the Arizona Cardinals in the 2018 season.

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Harris was recently the Tennessee Titans’ passing game coordinator following some time coaching the Washington Commanders’ defensive backs.

Whoever get this position will have some big shoes to fill. Ryans was the architect of the NFL’s No. 1 defense, leading the league in points per game allowed. The 49ers were also top-three in yards per game and yards per play given up.

Recent history says the San Francisco defensive coordinator position is a springboard into the head coaching ranks. Before Ryans was the guy calling the defense, Robert Saleh was the man in charge. Saleh became the head coach for the New York Jets, and Ryans is now the Texans coach.

That sounds like more motivation for Wilks and Harris to get the nod. Having that personnel also helps, of course.