49ers 2020 ‘Who Is?’ series: Kerry Hyder can bolster pass rush

Kerry Hyder #51 of the Dallas Cowboys after a sack against Case Keenum #8 of the Washington Redskins (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Kerry Hyder #51 of the Dallas Cowboys after a sack against Case Keenum #8 of the Washington Redskins (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Teams can never have too many pass-rushers, and the 49ers are hoping Kerry Hyder provides some reserve thump here in 2020.

The San Francisco 49ers boast one of the best edge-rushing duos in the NFL, but Kerry Hyder isn’t exactly a name you’d associate with that list.

Hyder could, however, fill a vital role behind the two key starters, EDGEs Nick Bosa and Dee Ford.

The Niners brought aboard the 29-year-old Hyder on a one-year deal during the offseason worth up to $1.5 million. Hyder’s contract carries only $550,000 in dead money if he’s cut, so it’s not exactly as if he’s a solid lock to make the 53-man roster out of training camp.

Instead, San Francisco is hoping the former Texas Tech pass-rusher, who went undrafted in 2014 before signing with the New York Jets, can come close to replicating the kind of outburst he enjoyed with the Detroit Lions in 2016:

Kerry Hyder Defense & Fumbles Table
3 yr3 yrDET2421019.04228141221
1 yr1 yrDAL160011.01710734

Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/8/2020.

Hyder’s defensive coach when he was with Detroit? None other than the current 49ers D-line coach, Kris Kocurek.

This certainly weighed in on San Francisco’s decision to bring Hyder aboard. Now the question is whether or not he can crack the roster and what kind of impact he’ll have if he does.

Niner Noise’s annual “Who Is?” series takes a deeper look.

Why Kerry Hyder improves with 49ers in 2020

First, you have to go back to Kocurek. His wide-9 approach helped invigorate the Niners pass rush in 2019, although it helps to have elite pass-rushers like Bosa and Ford. But it also got the most out of defensive tackle Arik Armstead, too, who led the team with 10 sacks last year.

Like Armstead, Hyder can move around the offensive line in various positions, and his 6-foot-2, 275-pound frame means he’s more than adept playing along the interior.

The flexibility should boost Hyder’s stock value a bit. And while it’s premature to assume Hyder would come anywhere close to reaching the kind of production he had in 2016 with the Lions, merely getting half of those numbers in a situational basis would provide a much-needed boost.

Why Kerry Hyder regresses with 49ers in 2020

As with many one-year wonders, it’s fair to question why Hyder hasn’t produced more regularly in the years following his breakout. 2017 was a write-off, thanks to a torn Achilles suffered in the preseason, yet he was mostly a non-factor in 2018 which led to the Dallas Cowboys taking a one-year flier on him last season.

Hyder was on the field enough, seeing 439 defensive snaps (over 40 percent), but that didn’t exactly translate into a lot of production.

Chances of making 49ers’ 53-man roster, expected role in 2020

Again, Hyder is anything but a lock to make the cut by Week 1. San Francisco’s defensive line is deep, and there are other players who have been more productive in a reserve role than Hyder has in recent seasons.

That said, Hyder would be one of the older members of the Niners’ relatively young D-line, so the veteran presence could have a bonus. Plus, the 49ers are looking at three players — Jullian Taylor, Ronald Blair and Kentavius Street — who are returning from injuries suffered last season. It wouldn’t be shocking to see Hyder compete for one of those backup roles, and his own versatility and ability to play different spots increases his value.

One of the X-factors will be whether or not Hyder can return to a similar form he enjoyed under Kocurek. If that proves to be beneficial during training camp, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Hyder’s chances rise up significantly.

Next. 10 players who'll impress during 49ers training camp. dark

Remember, teams can never have too many pass-rushers, especially ones with versatility.