49ers writer eyeing Jets' Jeff Ulbrich for DC is simply unreasonable

Ulbrich is staying with the Jets in 2024

Jeff Ulbrich
Jeff Ulbrich / Al Pereira/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

As easy as it may be to criticize Robert Saleh and the NY Jets, one area where they are beyond reproach is their defense. Between one of the best secondaries in the league and a deep defensive line, the Jets have built an elite unit thanks to Saleh and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich.

If the Jets are able to ride Aaron Rodgers to the postseason while maintaining a similar level of defensive excellence, it's not unreasonable for Ulbrich to get head coach interviews. After helping coach at the Senior Bowl, his status as a star assistant has only continued to grow.

The San Francisco 49ers, who lost Saleh and DeMeco Ryans to head coaching jobs in the last few seasons, need to figure out their next direction after parting with defensive coordinator Steve Wilks following Super Bowl LVIII. One 49ers writer seems to believe that John Lynch will try to steal Ulbrich in a wish that has minimal basis in reality.

Tim Kawakami of The Athletic said his "most realistic guesses" on who would take the 49ers' DC job are Ulbrich and Indianapolis Colts coordinator Gus Bradley. Kawakami cited the fact Ulbrich played for the 49ers and remains close with many within the organization as justification.

49ers writer thinks NY Jets DC Jeff Ulbrich will join San Francisco

In much the same way many of the Jets' best defensive players have developed from less-heralded names into stars, Ulbrich started off his tenure in a rocky fashion. After an uninspiring defensive coordinator stint in Atlanta and a terrible 2021, Ulbrich has since evolved into an attacking, incisive defensive mind.

New York has ranked near the top of the league in points per drive over the last two years and graded out as PFF's No.1 defense in 2023.

Because this would be a lateral move, the Jets would reserve the right to block Ulbrich from interviewing. The 49ers could offer an assistant head coach spot after also parting with Anthony Lynn, but there's nothing stopping Saleh and the Jets from doing the same to keep him in New York.

Saleh and the Jets can at least take solace in the fact that his defensive style and approach to the game are apparently held in such high regard that teams may be interested in poaching his top assistants. Ulbrich may eventually leave for a better gig elsewhere, but taking a DC job just a few days before the NFL Combine would be an unprecedented shock.

manual