Patriots Defensive Coordinator Hot Board: Top 6 Replacements for Matt Patricia

The Detroit Lions are expected to hire New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia as their next head coach, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. With the Patriots remaining alive in the playoffs after a 35-14 win over the Tennesee Titans on Saturday, the Patriots will host the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship game. Patricia can't agree to a deal with the Lions until the Patriots season is officially over, which means there will be plenty of Patriots defensive coordinator rumors circulating.

Here are the top 6 candidates for the Patriots defensive coordinator job.

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6.) Brendan Daly, Patriots defensive line coach

Brendan Daly has been around the block when it comes to coaching experience in college and the NFL. The 42-year-old started his college coaching career with Drake in 1998 as the tight end coach. He coached in college from 1998-2005 before going to the Minnesota Vikings as the assistant defensive line coach. Since entering the NFL he has coached with the Rams (2009-11), Vikings (2011-12), and Patriots (2014-Present). He has been a defensive line coach or defensive assistant his entire NFL coaching career. 

5.) Matt Eberflus, Cowboys linebackers coach

Eberflus joined the Dallas Cowboys in 2011 and will enter his ninth season in the NFL (seven with Cowboys). Before coming to Dallas he spent two years with the Cleveland Browns as the team's linebackers coach. He also has 17 years of coaching experience in college. Elberflus's contract is up in Dallas and he is now a free agent.

4.) Mike Vrabel, Texans defensive coordinator

Vrabel has drawn buzz as a potential head coach this off-season, but needs permission from the Houston Texans in order to interview which seems unlikely.  Vrabel played with the Patriots from 2001-08 where he won three Super Bowls. Since retiring from the NFL as a player he has coached in college and the NFL. He started at Ohio State in 2011 as the linebackers coach and after three seasons he joined the Texans in 2014. This past season was the first season Vrabel was the defensive coordinator for the Texans and despite the team's struggles, he is a candidate to keep in mind if the Texans allow him to interview for the Patriots defensive coordinator job.

3.) Kris Richard, Seahawks defensive coordinator 

Richard was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the third round of the 2002 NFL Draft. He played for the Seahawks, Dolphins, and 49ers in his playing career. As a coach, he started at USC as a graduate assistant in 2008 and stayed there for two seasons. Richard worked his way up in the Seahawks organization from assistant defensive backs coach (2010), to cornerbacks coach (2011), to defensive backs coach (2012-14), and to defensive coordinator (2015-present). He is allowed to interview for any positon, despite still being the defensive coordinator for Seattle.

2.) Brian Flores, Patriots linebackers coach

Flores is rumored to be a candidate for the Arizona Cardinals head coaching job, but if he is unable to land in Arizona he may be a top candidate for defensive coordinator in New England.  Flores is young at 36 years old, but is regarded as one of the best young defensive minds in the NFL. Belichick wants to hire someone he can trust, and he has served as a coach with the Patriots since 2004. He served as scouting assistant, pro scout, special teams assistant, assistant offense and special teams, defensive assistant, safeties coach, and linebackers coach.

1.) Greg Schiano, Ohio State defensive coordinator 

Greg Schiano has been the defensive coordinator for the Buckeyes the last two seasons, but before that, he was the head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from (2012-13). So he has NFL coaching experience even though the Buccaneers during his time were 11-21. Before the Buccaneers, he was the head coach at Rutgers for 11 seasons, and since he has left the Scarlet Knights have been one of the worst college football programs in the country. Schiano also has ties with Bill Belichick. Belichick's son played for Schiano at Rutgers and when the Greg Schiano was hired to coach at Tennessee, but that fell apart amid the uproar from the Volunteer fans. Belichick backed up Schiano, in fact, he said "he's one of the very best coaches I think in our profession." This seems like a perfect fit for both sides and Schiano has interest in the Patriots defensive coordinator position, according to Bruce Feldman.

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