The Dallas Cowboys dipped their toes into the defensive line pool heavily back in March. They acquired Robert Quinn via trade from the Miami Dolphins. Christian Covington was signed to a one-year 2.5 million dollar deal after spending four years with the Houston Texans as a very underrated rotational player. Lastly, the organization brought in Kerry Hyder, who spent a year on the New York Jets practice squad and four years with the Detroit Lions. Setting up a very formidable defensive line rotation in 2019.
Hyder was an undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech in 2014 before being signed by the Jets. He wouldn't survive the final 53-man roster cuts but was brought back as a practice squad body. Eventually, he was signed off the practice squad on January 2nd, 2016 by the Lions. After 3 sacks in the final preseason game of that year, he made the 53-man roster and hit the ground running. He would play in all 16 games with 2 starts, but more importantly, he racked up 8 sacks, proving that he was much more than just a practice squad-level player.
Unfortunately, in the first preseason game in 2017 Hyder tore his achilles and was placed on the injured reserved list which ended his season before it ever took off. He would sign a one-year extension in 2018 but was dealt another blow when the Lions defensive scheme shifted from a traditional 4-3 to a 3-4. Only seeing action in 7 games due to poor mismanagement of his skill set, he only totaled 1 sack and 6 tackles.
There's always light at the end of the tunnel, though, as now he's back in a 4-3 scheme under the guidance of Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli and Assistant Defensive Line Coach Leon Lett. He didn't waste time getting to work in OTAs as he dominated the majority of his reps, showing flashes of his 2016 form.
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 7, 2019
What's very encouraging about Hyder is that yes he's been in the NFL for five years, but he's only played in 24 games, less than two seasons worth. Meaning, there's still plenty of tread left on these tires. At 28 years old, and limited NFL game experience, his ceiling is still rather high. When healthy, he's proven he can be a very disruptive force rushing the passer from the perimeter. Now with Quinn sidelined for the next month, Kerry Hyder is a name to keep an eye on once preseason games for the Cowboys kickoff on Saturday against the 49ers.