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Sean Desai, Joe Whitt Jr. Present Intriguing Candidates For Seahawks' Defensive Coordinator Vacancy

While Desai and Whitt have one season as an NFL defensive coordinator combined on their resumes, the rising young assistants would be exciting outside the box hires who can help infuse much-needed new ideas into Seattle's defensive philosophical framework.

After firing defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. on January 18, the Seahawks have wasted little time pursuing his potential replacement, reportedly requesting three interviews outside of the organization while also considering current defensive line coach Clint Hurtt for the position.

Among those Seattle hopes to speak with about the job, while long-time NFL assistant Ed Donatell could be an excellent fit in his own right due to his previous ties to coach Pete Carroll as well as defensive guru Vic Fangio, Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai and Cowboys defensive backs coach Joe Whitt Jr. stand out as the most intriguing candidates thus far.

Looking at their respective backgrounds, what makes Desai and Whitt Jr. such interesting options for Carroll and the Seahawks to consider?

Both Desai and Whitt Jr. have at least nine years of experience coaching in the NFL while being under the age of 45 and have worked for multiple head coaches with differing schemes and philosophies. To varying degrees, both coaches excelled in their roles this past season, with the former exceeding expectations calling plays for a defense struggling with injuries and the latter helping transform the Cowboys into a turnover-creating juggernaut.

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Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai watches on during a training camp practice.
Packers secondary coach Joe Whitt Jr. coaches a player during drill work at training camp.

As things stand, it remains unknown whether the Bears or Cowboys will permit the Seahawks to interview Desai or Whitt, two promising young coaches who have weathered head coaching changes in the past. Depending on who Chicago hires to replace Nagy, the organization may request Desai be kept on board. Dallas likely will lose Quinn to a head coaching job, opening the door for Whitt to be tabbed as his successor.

If the two coaches are blocked from interviewing, Seattle wouldn't be settling by hiring Donatell or another viable outside candidate. Such a scenario could still work out, especially if Donatell or another pass game-oriented coach joins forces with Hurtt in a co-coordinator arrangement.

But coming off a rough 7-10 season and missing the playoffs for the first time in five years, there's no question Seattle could use an infusion of youth and new ideas on the defensive side of the football and both Desai and Whitt would fit the bill. If they are able to land interviews with either coach, the front office needs to work swiftly to lock one of them up as a potential game-changing move.