SF 49ers: Kerry Hyder is key to Niners pass rush vs. Giants, Eagles

Kerry Hyder Jr. #92 of the San Francisco 49ers tackles Chase Edmonds #29 of the Arizona Cardinals (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Kerry Hyder Jr. #92 of the San Francisco 49ers tackles Chase Edmonds #29 of the Arizona Cardinals (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

The SF 49ers pass rush took a big blow by losing Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas. Now with Dee Ford out, the focus shifts on Kerry Hyder.

EDGE Kerry Hyder was squarely on the SF 49ers‘ roster bubble at the end of training camp.

The Niners defensive line, after all, was the most stacked unit on head coach Kyle Shanahan’s roster, and perhaps the only reason the 29-year-old Hyder made the cut to get onto the 53-man group was because of his prior relationship with defensive line coach Kris Kocurek, who helped engineer Hyder’s best season as a pro, 2016 with the Detroit Lions, which produced a career-high eight sacks.

That’s the kind of production San Francisco will be seeking from Hyder in Week 3 versus the New York Giants and at home in Week 4 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Perhaps even longer.

The SF 49ers have been dealt some tough blows to their D-line, losing linemen Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas to season-ending ACL tears. Fellow EDGE Dee Ford, the defense’s best pure pass-rusher behind Bosa, is also out indefinitely with a back injury.

With a limited array of other pass-rushers, even after inking free-agent EDGE Ezekiel Ansah to a one-year deal, Hyder now becomes the focal point for the Niners defensive front.

And it’s not all bad of a situation.

Hyder already has one of the team’s three sacks on the year, and his current Pro Football Focus pass-rush productivity rate is 6.3. A year ago, supporting a stacked Dallas Cowboys pass rush, this number was a relatively low 5.4. But in that 2016 season, it was a respectable 7.7, highest among Detroit’s pass-rushers that year.

“He’s a baller,” SF 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt told Fangirl Sports’ Tracy Sandler. “I didn’t know too much about him, but he’s definitely gotten my attention since he’s been here.”

Hopefully, those are the kinds of impressions Hyder continues to make.

Kerry Hyder, SF 49ers can revitalize pass rush vs. Giants, Eagles

There’s no doubting the losses of Bosa, Thomas and Ford hurt the Niners pass rush. Ideally, Ford comes back from his injury sooner than later.

But in their absence, Hyder and Ansah could be the primary outside pass-rushing weapons at San Francisco’s disposal.

Fortunately, both the 49ers’ opponents in Weeks 3 and 4, the Giants and Eagles, respectively, haven’t exactly done good jobs protecting their quarterbacks. Through two weeks, New York has allowed seven sacks, while Philly has surrendered eight.

That puts the Eagles tied for most sacks allowed, along with the Houston Texans, while the Giants are tied for third-most surrendered. Football Outsiders currently ranks the Giants and Eagles offensive lines 22nd and 27th in pass protection, respectively.

This bodes well for Hyder and the Niners defense.

It also affords San Francisco an adequate period of time to rest Ford, get him healthy without having to worry too much about a prolific offensive line limiting the ability of the SF 49ers’ decimated pass rush too much.

And that’s a context of which Hyder can take advantage.

Next. 4 pass-rushers who must perform better with Nick Bosa out. dark

The Niners and Giants kick off on Sunday, Sept. 27 at 1 p.m. ET from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.