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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Carolina Panthers
(Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Flores /

Carolina Panthers could hire Brian Flores

With multiple head coaching vacancies around the NFL, Brian Flores is sure to be a name popping up in numerous circles. However, a move to defensive coordinator could also still be a realistic possibility for the current senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Flores was head coach of the Miami Dolphins before a tumultuous conclusion to his brief, yet successful, tenure. He led the AFC East team to consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 2003, which represented an outstanding accomplishment all things considered.

Prior to joining the Dolphins, Flores served in multiple capacities as an assistant coach for the New England Patriots. While formally serving as the linebackers coach in his final season with Bill Belichick in 2018, he also carried defensive play-calling responsibilities following the departure of Matt Patricia.

While his class action lawsuit against the NFL alleging racial discrimination is still ongoing and may make some teams unwarrantedly shy away from Flores, that wouldn’t be the case if the Carolina Panthers and Steve Wilks came calling.

Wilks joined Flores as part of the lawsuit back in April 2022, so the connection is obvious. While the Belichick coaching tree hasn’t exactly spawned a gaggle of successful head coaches, there’s no denying that they have the chops to adequately helm the assistant positions.

It would be fascinating to see Flores and Wilks working together to solidify this young defensive squad that already gleams with promise.