49ers best-kept secret No. 2: EDGE Kemoko Turay
In each of the last two seasons, the Niners have had luck signing a castoff pass-rusher and turning him into a quality contributor. The 2020 version was defensive end Kerry Hyder, who led the team with 8.5 sacks, followed by defensive end Arden Key’s 6.5 in 2021.
Both years marked career-highs.
Hyder is back after a one-year stint with the Seattle Seahawks, while Key translated his breakout campaign into a free-agent deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
So, who will this year’s breakout candidate be?
A good bet would be on former Indianapolis Colts EDGE Kemoko Turay, who dealt with injuries his first four years in the NFL but nevertheless managed to come on strong last year, registering a career-best 5.5 sacks over 13 games played.
With the bulk of pass-blocking attention likely to focus on Nick Bosa, and San Francisco not wanting to put too much pressure on rookie EDGE Drake Jackson, Turay figures to get plenty of pass-rush snaps in a rotational role for much of the upcoming campaign.
If he can show he’s fully healthy in training camp, one might see Turay thrive in his new environment while being surrounded by an elite-level defensive line.