It was announced over the weekend that the Carolina Panthers had hired Ejiro Evero as their next defensive coordinator after it was reported by NFL Network that the Broncos were letting him out of his contract. Despite meeting with Sean Payton multiple times, Evero left for a new organization.
Payton is now faced with the task of naming a new defensive coordinator. It won’t be easy, but he must find the right man for the job. The defensive side of the ball has been the lone bright spot for the Broncos and figures to be strong again next year. But who will be leading that unit? Here are three names who could fill that role.
Sean Payton’s DC candidates with Broncos: Sean Desai, Seahawks
This one feels like the favorite in the room. Desai, who was hand recommended to the Broncos by former head coach and now Dolphins defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, Desai would carry a Fangio style of defense over to the Broncos.
Fangio, the mastermind behind a defensive scheme that is now widely used around the NFL, was the Bears’ defensive coordinator from 2015-2018, all seasons in which Desai spent in Chicago as a defensive assistant. After Fangio departed, Desai continued to work under a respected and veteran defensive coach, Chuck Pagano.
Desai spent from 2013-2021 in Chicago, starting as a defensive assistant, and moving up to safeties coach in 2019 in which he coached two of the better safeties in the NFL, Eddie Jackson and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. He then spent 2021 as the defensive coordinator for the Bears. He spent only one year in that role and left the team after head coach Matt Nagy was dismissed. Next, he found himself moving on to Seattle, where he spent last season as associate head coach and defensive assistant for Pete Carroll.
So why Desai? Well, a hand-delivered recommendation from Vic Fangio will go a long way in the NFL. He has learned under some of the best defensive minds in football, and his one year as a play caller gives him some decent experience. The singular year wasn’t great, but the team was riddled with injuries and it is fair to assume his dismissal had more to do with a regime change than anything else. Desai is still young, just 39, and could still have a ton of potential as a defensive play caller in the NFL.