Ian Rapoport mentions that Panthers DC Steve Wilks is the most popular head-coaching candidate up to this point, as he has drawn interest from all five of the team’s currently without head coaches.
This includes four interviews with the Bears, Cardinals, Giants and Lions.
Rapoport adds that it’s his understanding that these teams are waiting to hire a head coach until they can speak with Wilks, who will be leading the Panthers’ defense against the Saints today. The expectation is that these team will wait to make any decision on who they’ll hire until after they get a change to meet with Wilks this week.
One of the reasons Wilks is in such high demand, according to Rapoport, isn’t because of how the Panthers’ defense has played, but the type of leader he is.
Mike Garafolo adds that the Giants figure to be among the first interviews for Wilks. New Giants GM Dave Gettleman is reportedly “eager to get Wilks in front of ownership.”
While the Giants have said that they want a head coach with prior experience, Garafolo says to not discount Wilks’ chances of getting this job.
Wilks, 48, began his NFL coaching career with the Bears as their defensive backs coach back in 2006. He spent two years with the Chargers before following Ron Rivera to Carolina as their defensive backs coach. The Panthers promoted him to assistant head coach in 2015 and then to defensive coordinator last year after Sean McDermott took the Bills’ job.
We’ll have more regarding Wilks as the news is available.