The best NFL coaching candidates in 2023 are a sign of the direction the league is headed. While there are plenty of brilliant minds on the offensive side of the ball available, the 2022 NFL season also put the spotlight on brilliant defensive coordinators and outstanding leaders.

While the Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts became the first NFL teams looking for a new coach, others will join them. It’s going to be another active coaching carousel and this year’s list of the top NFL coaching candidates offers a variety of options for front offices and owners.

As we did with our candidates list in 2022, we’re also focusing on other vacancies. There are multiple openings for general managers across the league and there is a deep pool of NFL GM candidates to explore. Likewise, coaches looking to fill out their staff for the 2023 season have a strong array of NFL coordinator candidates to choose from.

Let’s dive into the best head coach, general manager and coaching candidates in 2023.


NFL coaching candidates

DeMeco Ryans, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator

NFL coaching candidates are getting younger and more recognizable each year. DeMeco Ryans, age 38, became a defensive quality control coach just two years after retiring from the NFL. The two-time Pro Bowl selection quickly climbed the coaching ladder, receiving a promotion to inside linebackers coach (2018-’20) and then replacing Robert Saleh as the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator. Needless to say, he is doing a phenomenal job with this group.

Ryans’ defensive play-calling played an instrumental role in San Francisco’s playoff run last season. He already brings the defensive mind and ability to make adjustments that teams need to prioritize. Just as importantly, his track record as a player and coordinator demonstrates his leadership and communication, which are crucial to fulfilling the ‘CEO’ role for a head coach. Ryans is among our favorite NFL coaching candidates and it would be a surprise if he isn’t hired.


Shane Steichen, Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator

Nick Sirianni rightfully gets a lot of credit for the Philadelphia Eagles’ success. After all, the head coach has far exceeded expectations and proven that he was the perfect target for the role. However, it’s important to remember that Shane Steichen has a massive role in the offense.

Sirianni described this summer how involved Steichen is with everything Philadelphia does offensively. He started calling plays late in the 2021 season, playing a pivotal role in the Eagles’ offense taking off. It’s a change that carried over into 2022 with Philly boasting one of the top offenses all season.