Colorado football DC candidates: Legendary safety and two long-time NFL coaching vets

Miami v North Carolina
Miami v North Carolina / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

BuffsBeat's Josh Tolle revealed a trio of potential Colorado football defensive coordinator candidates for the role Charles Kelly's departure opened up: long-time NFL coaching veterans Rex Ryan and Mike Zimmer, and eight-time NFL All-Pro safety.

"A few names have been circulating in regards to CU's defensive coordinator search," Tolle prefaced before saying, "Mike Zimmer, Ed Reed, and Rex Ryan are three possibilities for Sanders to consider. They each have NFL experience at different levels with Reed being a Hall-of-Famer. Coach Prime also said the search will probably be concluded within the next week."

Coach Prime said during a team meeting -- the same one he introduced Pat Shurmur as offensive coordinator, Florida A&M's Devin Rispress in an assistant director of player personnel and high school relations role, Jason Phillips as WR coach, and Brett Bartolone as tight ends coach -- that he's waiting on the NFL season to wrap up to make any moves.

"I could easily choose a coordinator for you, but instead of being hasty, I would rather be right," Sanders said in the video released from Well Off Media on January 14. "Because you deserve it. You got to understand the NFL (season) is just getting over and there are still some teams in the playoffs. So, not only one, are we trying to get you a pro, but we're trying to get you a professional. Either from college or from the NFL. But we're trying to do it right, because defense you deserve that. And we're going to get it right for you."

Possible Colorado football defensive coordinator options in NFL playoffs

If Coach Prime wanted to find a defensive coordinator from an NFL playoff team, Philadelphia Eagles DL coach Tracy Rocker, who has over three decades of coaching experience but was only a DC at the high school level, can be worth a look given his ties throughout SEC country, and Buffalo Bills associate head coach/DL coach Eric Washington, who does have DC experience and ties to the talent-rich Midwest and southern United States as well, could be worth a look.

Denver Broncos ILB coach Greg Manusky could be an in-town Colorado football DC option should Coach Prime not want to venture out too far for NFL coaching experience. Manusky's only collegiate experience was a quality control analyst at Kentucky, but he has ties all over the map from a 23-year coaching career.