The Houston Texans could have lost linebackers coach Mike Vrabel to the San Francisco 49ers a year ago, but that will not be the case this year. Albert Breer is reporting the team will promote Vrabel to defensive coordinator. Romeo Crennel has served as Texans DC since 2014, but is expected to remain with the team in an assistant head coach role.
There was thought that the next 49ers head coach would pursue Vrabel as a potential defensive coordinator. This removes Vrabel from consideration. If the 49ers get a deal done with Kyle Shanahan, the defensive coordinator role will be significant. Shanahan is an offensive-minded coach, and so the DC would likely get significant autonomy on the coaching staff.
Matt Maiocco and others have mentioned Vrabel as a potential DC. Maiocco also mentioned Atlanta Falcons secondary/senior defensive assistant Marquand Manuel. He played eight seasons in the NFL as a defensive back and has worked with Falcons head coach Dan Quinn dating back to their time together at the University of Florida.
Another potential candidate would be former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris. He was defensive backs coach in Washington overlapping with Shanahan’s time as offensive coordinator. Morris is currently the Falcons assistant head coach and wide receivers coach. In spite of the WR coach position, the bulk of his career has been as a defensive assistant. Dan Quinn would have to give him permission to interview for the 49ers DC job if that came up. It is worth noting Morris only has one year of experience as a defensive coordinator, in 2006 at Kansas State.