49ers Schedule Interview with Chiefs Defensive Backs Coach for Open Defensive Coordinator Position

If you can’t beat them, recruit them.

That is the thought process of the San Francisco 49ers as they are set to interview Kansas City Chiefs defensive backs coach David Merritt for defensive coordinator, per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.

Merritt is the fourth known candidate to interview for the defensive coordinator vacancy. He joins former Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley, 49ers defensive pass game coordinator Nick Sorenson, and 49ers defensive backs coach Daniel Bullock to interview for the position.

Merritt is a name that comes out of nowhere for the 49ers. However, there is sound logic in why they are interested in him. For starters, he has significant tenure in the NFL. He’s been in the league as a coach since 2001 with stints at the New York Jets (2001-2003), New York Giants (2004-2017), Arizona Cardinals (2018), and the Kansas City Chiefs since 2019.

Notice his Giants tenure. Merritt has been with Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo for years. Clearly, he’s a tremendous understudy of Spagnuolo. Shanahan is definitely trying to find his version of Spagnuolo with the 49ers, and it makes sense to do so. Spagnuolo’s defenses in the last three encounters with Shanahan have been the better side. That has to be alluring for Shanahan to want that for his team.

There is also the factor of Shanahan gaining some inside knowledge on how Spagnuolo operates. What better way for him to do that than by hiring a coach that has tagged along with Spagnuolo for so many years. Plus, the 49ers would be taking away a key defensive coach from the Chiefs, so that can be a sting to them in case the 49ers have to see them again in the future.

The more and more that I think about it, the hiring of Merritt would be amazing for the 49ers. I am still advocating for Bullocks to be the guy, but Merritt would make for an excellent consolation.

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