Yesterday, Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon released a list of the “Most Overlooked Additions of the 2019 NFL Offseason,” but didn’t have anything listed for the Dallas Cowboys. So, it got me thinking, who’s the player that’s being overlooked by Cowboys Nation as the team gets ready to go to Oxnard, California for training camp.
Obviously, we’ve talked a lot about the rookie additions and even the undrafted free agents have received a lot of hype, though it’s looking really tough for one of them to break through to make the opening week 53-man roster. We’ve talked a lot about George Iloka and his potential to take the starting strong safety job from Jeff Heath, so nobody’s forgetting about him.
In my mind, the offseason addition that we aren’t talking enough about is Kerry Hyder. With DeMarcus Lawrence getting his contract extension, the Dallas Cowboys trading for Robert Quinn to man the right side of the defensive line, the optimism surrounding the return of Randy Gregory, and the offseason emergence of Dorance Armstrong, Kerry Hyder’s been lost in the shuffle a bit.
He’s shown in offseason training activities and minicamp while DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory, and Taco Charlton have been out of action and is a player that will contribute week one for the Dallas Cowboys.
In 2017, Hyder suffered an achilles injury that led him to miss the entire season and in 2018 was played so out of position that he wasn’t very productive. Lions’ Head Coach Matt Patricia played Hyder at nose tackle in their 3-4 defense when his most natural position is probably left defensive end. He has the ability, strength, and length to play some pass rush 3-technique defensive tackle, but he should have never played nose tackle.
Remember when the Dallas Cowboys played Jay Ratliff at the nose in their 3-4 and we all thought he was an undersized nose tackle. He’s listed by Pro-Football-Reference at 303 pounds. Hyder’s listed at 270 pounds.
Hyder’s going to be a very valuable depth piece for the Dallas Cowboys because he gives them a player that can come off the bench and spell DeMarcus Lawrence and still get productive pass rush snaps. Sure there will be a drop off between Lawrence and Hyder, but again, Hyder had an eight-sack season just three seasons ago. If there’s an injury suffered by Lawrence or Quinn, Hyder is a guy you can plug in right away at either defensive end spot and you won’t have to worry about whether he’ll hold up.
Since Rod Marinelli’s been the defensive line coach of the Dallas Cowboys and now defensive coordinator, the Cowboys have aimed for waves of pass rushers to attack offenses with. With Hyder in the mix, the Dallas Cowboys have four defensive ends who’ve produced at least six sacks in a season.
Remember back to 2014 and 2016 when the sack leaders only had six sacks a season. We aren’t going to be talking about this Cowboys’ defense not being able to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Instead by the end of the season, we’re going to be talking about a defense that’s the very best in the NFL.
Kerry Hyder will be a part of the reason why.