SF 49ers: 4 candidates for most-improved player in 2020

Kerry Hyder Jr. #92 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
Kerry Hyder Jr. #92 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) /
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Kerry Hyder, SF 49ers
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Kerry Hyder (92) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 1: SF 49ers EDGE Kerry Hyder

The SF 49ers were going to rely heavily on the pass-rushing tandem of Nick Bosa and Dee Ford this season. EDGE Kerry Hyder, whom the Niners plucked off the free-agent pile for a one-year deal, was only expected to provide some supplementary depth. Nothing more.

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Yet Bosa and Ford’s injuries thrust Hyder into a prominent role, and he’s done far more than just give a small spark here.

Hyder currently leads the team with 7.5 sacks, including two key quarterback takedowns in San Francisco’s Week 12 win over the Rams. And that number is just half a sack shy of the 8.0 sacks he had with the Detroit Lions back in 2016.

In the years between, Hyder never managed more than one sack a season.

The SF 49ers may not boast a prolific pass rush right now. But the fact Hyder has provided far more than what his expected level was supposed to be is quite the storyline.

A free agent in 2021, the role player who assumed a much more important spot on the defense should be a high-priority re-sign candidate for the Niners heading into next season.

Next. 5 Niners with expiring contracts who haven't helped themselves in 2020. dark

He’s certainly earned it and stands as the most improved player San Francisco has had within its ranks.