The 49ers might have lost Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas for the remainder of the season with ACL injuries, but Kerry Hyder is poised to make an impact in their place.
The former Detroit Lions defensive lineman has flown under the radar since his arrival in Santa Clara, but Hyder could be set for a breakout performance in the 49ers' match up with the New York Giants on Sunday.
Hyder’s transition to the 49ers has been smooth, having worked with Kris Kocurek for three seasons while in Detroit. The coaching staff favorite had an impressive training camp and already has seen an increase in his snap count over the first two weeks.
Left tackle Trent Williams has faced Hyder in practice during Nick Bosa’s absence and has been impressed by what he has seen.
“Kerry had an awesome training camp,” Williams said on Wednesday. “I think you ask any coach around here, they’ll tell you he had an outstanding training camp. He’s a polished pass rusher.”
In 2016, when Hyder was being coached by Kocurek in Detroit, he led the Lions with eight sacks. He also racked up 19 quarterback hits and 36 total tackles, 11 of which were for a loss.
On Sunday, the 49ers also likely will be without edge rusher Dee Ford for a second consecutive game due to a back injury. This will cause the 49ers' staff to lean on Hyder even more. Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has been a fan of Hyder since he signed with the club.
“The violence that he plays with, it just shows up on tape,” Saleh said during training camp. “If you're any kind of a person watching football and you see that happening, you can't help but gravitate to that because that's what it's supposed to look like. He doesn't talk very much, but the example he sets out there has been phenomenal.”
Jaquiski Tartt has confidence that Hyder will rise to the occasion with more opportunities ahead as well. Hyder's performance since his arrival in Santa Clara was a happy surprise for the safety.
“He’s a baller to me,” Tartt said. “He’s been balling since he came in. I didn’t know too much about him but he for sure got my attention since he’s been here.”
Players have been very vocal about the team’s “next man up” mentality after suffering numerous injuries in week two. Williams is confident that Hyder is one of the key pieces that will contribute to the 49ers' success going forward.
“Kerry can play at a high level," Williams continued. "He’s dealt with some injuries, but we have all the faith in the world, and I know he will get the job done.”