No. 1: SF 49ers EDGE Kerry Hyder
The other three unsung players on this list deserve proverbial “pats on the back” for their efforts this season.
In the case of EDGE Kerry Hyder, he deserves mountains of praise.
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Signed to a one-year “prove it” deal last offseason, Hyder was merely intended to provide supplementary pass-rushing help behind edge rushers Nick Bosa and Dee Ford. But both Bosa and Ford are sidelined on injured reserve indefinitely with injuries and likely won’t play this season, suddenly putting Hyder into a prominent role.
And he’s delivered.
Hyder recorded two sacks in San Francisco’s win over Los Angeles, upping his team-high total to 7.5 and getting within half a sack of his career-best total set back with the Detroit Lions in 2016. On top of that, Pro Football Focus has given him a pass-rush productivity mark of 8.8, which is sixth best among edge defenders and getting close to the ranks of top-tier pass-rushers like T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers (10.3) and the Los Angeles Chargers’ Joey Bosa (11.3).
Not bad at all, especially when considering the role Hyder was intended to have.
Simply put, Hyder has been one of the Niners’ best storylines this season and should be a prime re-sign candidate for the team when he hits free agency this offseason.