San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans has emerged as the frontrunner for the Houston Texans’ head coaching vacancy, according to a report by NFL.com insider Ian Rapoport.
Ryans, 38, was a two-time Pro Bowl inside linebacker for the Texans when he played. In the past two seasons as defensive coordinator, he’s helped build elite units that rank among the top of the league in both traditional and advanced metrics. Given his track record, he’s one of the hottest coaching candidates this hiring cycle.
Per Rapoport, there’s mutual interest between Ryans and the Texans. They’re set to meet next week after Sunday’s NFC Championship game between San Francisco and the Philadelphia Eagles.
“If all goes well, he could be their next head coach,” Rapoport reported in a tweet.
This season, the 49ers defense allowed 16.4 points per game — best int he NFL. They gave up the second-fewest total rushing yards and corralled 20 interceptions, tied for the best in the league with Pittsburgh. The 49ers’ defense recorded the best DVOA, per Football Outsiders, in the NFL.
Ryans is also reportedly a frontrunner for the Denver Broncos’ top job.
Poaching coaches from Kyle Shanahan’s ecosystem has become common across the NFL. Mike McDaniel thrived as Miami’s head coach last year, Robert Saleh helped turn things around for the Jets and Mike Lafleur just became the Los Angeles Rams’ next offensive coordinator.
Ryans also likely won’t be the only Niners assistant to leave this offseason. The Washington Post reported that the Commanders requested to interview SF’s assistant head coach and run game coordinator, Anthony Lynn. The Titans also already hired Ran Carthon as their next general manager.
If both Ryans and Lynn depart, San Francisco would be due two compensatory third-round picks. They’re already owed compensatory thirds in 2023 and 2024 for the Carthon move.