Will the Broncos hire DeMeco Ryans?

While the Denver Broncos’ ownership group has kept details of their head coach search tight-lipped, fans and pundits have started connecting the dots and reading between the lines.

The Broncos have not set up any known second-round interviews with any of their coach candidates. The only coach that would not be available for a second-round interview at the moment is San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans.

Ryans could interview again next week, but he can’t be hired until San Francisco’s season has ended. If the 49ers beat the Philadelphia Eagles, Ryans won’t be available until after the Super Bowl. If the Niners lose, Ryans could be hired as early as Monday.

Perhaps that helps explain why Denver hasn’t appeared to be in any rush to set up second-round interviews. If Ryan is their primary target, they have to wait for him.

Adding fuel to the fire of speculation, KUSA-TV’s Mike Klis reported Thursday that Ryans is “a top candidate” for the Broncos. He is not the only candidate, however, as Klis also listed Dan Quinn, Sean Payton and Jim Caldwell among the top candidates for the job. (Quinn later announced that he will remain with the Dallas Cowboys in 2023.)

Quinn, Payton and Caldwell all could have had second-round interviews this week, but none of them did — at least not that we know of. So it’s not hard to connect the dots and come to the conclusion that Ryans seems to be the team’s preferred choice to replace Nathaniel Hackett this offseason.

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Story originally appeared on Broncos Wire