Reports: 49ers set to interview Chiefs DB coach for vacant DC gig

Feb 28, 2024, 3:23 PM | Updated: 3:35 pm

Kansas City Chiefs defensive backs coach David Merritt during a game between the New England Patrio...

Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator search appears to be taking shape, with David Merritt set to interview with the team this week.

Reports surfaced Wednesday afternoon that the 49ers will interview Merritt for the team’s vacant DC position. General manager John Lynch mentioned Tuesday that the Red & Gold will look externally, as well as internally, for the role, and that they have done.

NFL Network’s Mike Garofolo was first with the news, as local 49ers media confirmed thereafter.

David Merritt, 52, is the current defensive backs coach for the Chiefs, having been in that position since the 2019 season. In that span, his unit has elevated every season, with KC’s defense ranking seventh in DVOA in 2023. He has won three Super Bowls with the Chiefs, and two more with the New York Giants. Merritt is well versed in the Steve Spagnuolo defense, working with him in the Midwest and in New York for the better part of a decade.

Merritt has also spent time in Arizona, and with the Jets in NY in the early 2000s. He has coached every position on defense, from safeties to defensive linemen, making him a viable candidate for SF.

The 49ers have also reportedly interviewed former Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley for the DC gig. Internally, position coaches Nick Sorenson and Daniel Bullocks have also interviewed for the coordinator job.

San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and brass made the tough call to fire former DC Steve Wilks after only one season in The Bay. That left the Red & Gold without a defensive leader entering the NFL Scouting Combine. However, the team feels confident they will make the right decision in due time.

“I think we have a great idea who we’re going to be and continue to be and the things we believe in,” Lynch said at the NFL Combine. “So is it important? Sure. We’re working towards that. Kyle’s working towards that. That will come in due time here, but we want to be true to the process, learn a lot from it, identify some of the changes and tweaks we want to make, while still staying kind of to our core.”

Key offseason dates for the San Francisco 49ers

  • Thursday, Feb. 29th – NFL Combine testing begins
  • Thursday, March 13 – The 2024 free agency signing period begins at 1 p.m. PST

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