San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans has emerged as a top candidate for the Houston Texans in their head coaching search, sources told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.

Ryans is expected to meet with the Texans next week with mutual interest on both sides, Rapoport and Pelissero add.

The 49ers defensive coordinator has been a hot name in the head coaching cycle after drawing attention from the Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers, and Denver Broncos.

Ryans has been the mastermind behind a 49ers defense that ranked first in points and yardage allowed in 2022.

The 49ers promoted Ryans to defensive coordinator in 2021 after he spent the previous three seasons coaching the inside linebackers. His unit finished ninth in points allowed and third in yardage during his first season running the defense.

Ryans spent the first six seasons of his playing career with the Texans after the franchise drafted him in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He made two Pro Bowls during his Houston stay and took home Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.

The Texans’ last two head coaches – David Culley and Lovie Smith – were fired after just one season each at the helm.

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