NFL Rumors: 49ers Set To Elevate Nick Sorensen to DC, Hire Brandon Staley to Staff

The 49ers fired defensive coordinator Steve Wilks after their loss in Super Bowl 58. Now, they're promoting Nick Sorensen and hiring Brandon Staley.

Following a close, overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 58, the San Francisco 49ers shockingly fired then-defensive coordinator Steve Wilks. Since then, they’ve been looking for his replacement.

Now, it’s being reported that the team is set to elevate Nick Sorensen to defensive coordinator and additionally hire Brandon Staley as the team’s assistant head coach.

San Francisco 49ers Promoting Nick Sorensen and Adding Brandon Staley

According to both ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeremy Fowler, the 49ers are promoting Sorensen, the team’s defensive pass game specialist and nickel cornerbacks coach, to defensive coordinator. The team fired Wilks on Feb. 14. Additionally, the team is hiring former Los Angeles Chargers head coach Staley to the staff.

“We know who we are, who we’re going to be, and that’s not going to make a wholesale schematic change there,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “We feel good about where we’re at.”

Sorensen played football from 2001-2010 with the St. Louis Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Cleveland Browns. He also was with the Miami Dolphins’ pre-season roster. His coaching career, however, started in 2013 with the Seattle Seahawks, where he stayed until 2020.

During his time with the Seahawks, Sorensen was a part of the team that won Super Bowl 48. The 49ers’ appearance in 2023 was his third chance, with the Seahawks having lost one in 2015 as well.

He started as an assistant special teams coach with Seattle before rising to secondary coach. He had a one-year stint with the Jaguars and Urban Meyer as special teams coordinator. Then, in 2022, he was hired by the 49ers where he’s already been promoted twice, finally earning a defensive coordinator position.

For Staley, he’s been around much longer. He started coaching as a graduate assistant for Northern Illinois from 2006-2008. His first NFL job came in 2017 when the Chicago Bears hired him as the team’s outside linebackers coach from 2017-2018, the same position he also had for the Denver Broncos in 2019.

Staley’s big break came in 2020 when the Los Angeles Rams hired him as the team’s defensive coordinator. He was then hired by the Chargers in 2021 as the team’s head coach, where he stayed until being fired mid-season in 2023. His head coaching record finished with a 24-25 record, including 0-1 in the postseason.

KEEP READING: NFL Insider Reports 49ers ‘Flirted’ With Hiring DC Steve Spagnuolo After Super Bowl 58 Loss

Since being fired by the Chargers, Staley has been in consideration for multiple defensive jobs, including the 49ers, but he ultimately landed in San Francisco as the team’s assistant head coach under Kyle Shanahan. Staley is just 41 years old, as opposed to the 45-year-old Sorensen and 44-year-old Shanahan.

“He’s a really bright dude,” Lynch said of Staley. “We have an open mind, but we do know there’s certain core principles that we’re going to always be on the defensive side. … I wouldn’t rule him out because of that.”

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