Our roster review series continues today with one of the most unfortunate stories from 2017. Detroit Lions defensive end Kerry Hyder suffered a devastating injury just as his career was budding. Let’s take a look at his journey so far and what’s next for the young defensemen.
Expectations before 2017
The Lions were short of edge rushers, which led to increased expectations from Kerry Hyder. The undrafted defensive end of out Texas Tech had back-to-back impressive preseasons with Detroit in 2015 and 2016. Though he fell short of the final 53-man roster in 2015, he made it the following year and didn’t waste his opportunity.
In 2016, Hyder was just the rotational edge rushing piece the Lions needed. Playing in all 16 games — starting two — Hyder accumulated a team-high 8.0 sacks that season, leading many to believe he could take an ever bigger leap in 2017. The sky was the limit for Hyder, and considering he was on the last year of his contract heading into 2017, he had a ton to prove.
Actual role in 2017
2017 stats: 0 games played (placed on IR after preseason Week 1)
In the first quarter of the Lions’ first preseason game, Hyder tragically went down with a torn Achilles. His season was immediately lost, and the player that was all ready to cash in and take the next leap into potentially being a full-time starter was back at square one.
The Lions didn’t have an answer to fill Hyder’s roster spot, shuffling through a handful of players throughout the season, and Detroit’s pass rush suffered all year.
Outlook for 2018
Contract Status: ERFA
Like all other ERFAs, the Lions can bring back Kerry Hyder for a minimum deal with no danger of losing him to other teams. That’s almost certainly what they will do, but what will the future of Hyder hold?
An Achilles injury is no joke, and the estimated recovery time is usually between 9-12 months. Back in January, Hyder—about five months after suffering the injury—told the Detroit Free Press that he was at about the halfway point in his rehabilitation.
“I’m looking forward to coming back,” Hyder told Dave Birkett. “It’s just a small bump in the road on a long journey.”
So Hyder won’t be ready for OTAs in April and there’s no guarantee he’ll be healthy enough to practice when training camp begins in July.
But let’s say that he is ready: What role would he play in the new Detroit Lions defense? The scheme has yet to be determined, and obviously personnel could be a lot different. The Lions cannot rely on Hyder to be lined up as a starter in 2018. The injury he suffered is just way too serious, and he has yet to prove himself in a starting role.
And his grip on a rotational role is far from guaranteed, either. Hyder does have a little experience at both defensive end and tackle, which gives him an edge up on versatility. But he’ll be starting anew with a new scheme. If Hyder wants a big role in 2018, he’ll have to do what he’s done his entire career: fight for it.
Hyder’s professional career blossomed because of two impressive preseason performances. He’ll have to do the same to keep it going in Detroit. But he’s saying all the right things to make his way there. “I don’t know how to half-ass it and not go hard, so I’m going to do my hardest, I’m going to work hard and if y’all know me by now, y’all know I’m going to work hard and I ain’t going to let nothing stop me.”
What will Kerry Hyder’s role be with the Lions in 2018?
This poll is closed
A rotational player
Won’t make the final 53
Lions won’t re-sign him
Previously: DE Dwight Freeney, LB Tahir Whitehead , DE Ezekiel Ansah, S Tavon Wilson, CB Nevin Lawson, LS Don Muhlbach, LB Paul Worrilow, WR TJ Jones, TE Darren Fells, OT Greg Robinson, DT Jordan Hill, CB DJ Hayden, S Don Carey, LB Nick Bellore, G Don Barclay, RB Mike James, C Travis Swanson, QB Jake Rudock, G Zac Kerin, LB/DE Brandon Copeland, RB Zach Zenner, DT Haloti Ngata, DT Rodney Coe