4 defensive coordinator candidates if Panthers retain Steve Wilks in 2023

(Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Wilks
(Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Wilks /
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Which defensive coordinator candidates could the Carolina Panthers target if Steve Wilks is retained as head coach in 2023?

The dominoes are falling into place and the big picture is becoming clearer. And what a welcome revelation it is, as the Carolina Panthers had been aimlessly wandering around the NFL landscape prior to owner David Tepper finally, albeit tardily, cutting ties with Matt Rhule.

Through the cloud of disappointment, Steve Wilks has emerged. Cape flapping in the wind, he is now the lead candidate for Carolina’s head coaching position moving forward.

It may not necessarily be set in stone, but the ringing endorsements are getting increasingly difficult to ignore. It’s not only media personalities and former coaches, such as Bill Cowher, but current players and NFL head coaches are singing Wilks’ praises and fully endorsing his candidacy.

Derrick Brown, who is enjoying a breakout season, left no room for interpretation when he was a guest on Good Morning Football, telling host Peter Schrager:

"“I’ll speak for everybody in that locker room and say that we want Coach Wilks to be our next head coach.”"

The support for Wilks is undeniable, but that’s not the case for the current offensive and defensive coordinators. There is plenty of room for improvement on both sides of the ball, especially when it comes to play-calling and talent development.

Wilks is a master of motivation and rallying the team behind his straightforward, thundering direction. He would benefit greatly from having assistant coaches that excel in a more hands-on approach, with a focus on creativity and getting the most juice from the collective squeeze.

We’ve already explored some potential candidates for the offensive coordinator position, so here we’ll investigate a handful of possibilities for the defensive side under Wilks in 2023.