No. 6 San Francisco
Jed York appears to be the Bay Area’s new Al Davis; his managerial behavior has bordered on outright erratic. The 49ers’ next coach will be their fourth in 25 months. York started with one of the game’s most-coveted coaches, Jim Harbaugh, replaced him with one of the league’s least-known, Jim Tomsula, and now has run off one of the game’s most unique, Chip Kelly. If you’re not a believer in Kelly’s approach, fine. But that only means you believe York blundered a year ago, when Kelly was hired. The opinion here: barring things we don’t know, the mistake was made in firing Kelly. On film, Kelly’s plan and approach this season was very apparent and at times well crafted; the roster lacked the right players.
That’ll be the case for whoever has this job next. Because in addition to a young CEO with no decipherable plan, this onetime marquee franchise also comes with no passing-game weapons and looming questions along the offensive line. But hey, an optimist might call that a blank slate.
An optimist would also cite San Francisco’s defense. It wasn’t healthy down the stretch and had a poor season overall, but it offers some intriguing young building blocks in linemen DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead, along with defensive backs Jimmie Ward and Eric Reid.
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Best Fit for 49ers
Sean McDermott, Panthers’ defensive coordinator
Given the questions about this franchise, the Niners will probably have to settle for a head-coaching candidate whose stock is down. This could be a great opportunity to snatch one in McDermott, whose defense just had a disappointing season. McDermott is one of the most respected young defensive schemers in football. He’ll be a more appealing hire if he can attach a reputed offensive coordinator to his name.