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Report: 49ers to hire Steve Wilks as new defensive coordinator

We discuss the 49ers hiring of Steve Wilks to be their new DC.

Head coach Steve Wilks of the Carolina Panthers looks on during the second half against the New Orleans Saints at Caesars Superdome on January 08, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers are hiring Steve Wilks to become their new defensive coordinator, per Tom Pelissero. Wilks was the interim head coach of the Carolina Panthers in 2022 and is replacing DeMeco Ryans, who went on to become the new head coach for the Houston Texans.

Wilks made the jump to the NFL coaching ranks in 2006 when he joined the Chicago Bears as their defensive backs coach. He served in that same role with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers from 2009 to 2011. Wilks then joined the Carolina Panthers in 2012 and was with the organization through the 2017 season, where he served as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator.

Wilks did so well in his first stint with Carolina that he became the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals in 2018. It was a rough year as the team finished 3-13, and he was removed from his position after only one season. Wilks spent the next year as the defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns. After two years away from the NFL, Wilks returned to the Panthers in 2022 as their defensive passing game coordinator and secondary coach before being promoted to interim head coach.

Wilks will now be at the helm of one of the best defensive units in the NFL. With Nick Bosa, Fred Warner and Samson Ebukam anchoring the defense, the expectation is that the 49ers will be competing for another deep playoff run in 2024.