Two-time Pro Bowl linebacker and current San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans was one of the top NFL head coach candidates last cycle.

Ryans drew interest from the Minnesota Vikings, among other teams, before ultimately being passed up on.

That will not be the case following this season. Ryans has his 49ers defense ranked No. 1 in the league in total yards and points allowed. San Francisco has not yielded a second-half point in each of its past four games, all wins. The team hasn’t given up a single point in the past 93 minutes of football action.

Ryans, 38, will be an NFL head coach next season. That much is known. In fact, he will likely have his pick of the litter. Below, we look at three perfect landing spots for the defensive whiz and respected figure.


DeMeco Ryans heads back to the Houston Texans

Ryans was a second-round pick of the Texans back in 2006 after a brilliant college career at Alabama. He played six seasons with Houston, earning Pro Bowl nods in 2007 and 2009. While a lot of things have changed regarding the Texans since then, there’s a decent chance that they’ll now be looking for a fourth head coach in as many years with Lovie Smith having this team at 1-9-1 on the season.

Ryans’ experience as a play-caller on defense has proven valuable during his short time as an assistant coach in the NFL. He also has the young pieces in place to turn around Houston’s historically bad defense. That includes rookies cornerback Derek Stiingley Jr. and Jalen Pitre. Just look at how the likes of Charvarius Ward and Talanoa Hufanga have played for San Francisco this season. The only question here is whether Ryans would want to join a downtrodden organization with other options likely available to him.