Player: Kerry Hyder Jr.
2018 statistics with Lions: 7 games played, 1.0 sacks, 1 tackle for loss
2019 team: Dallas Cowboys
Contract terms: 1-year / $1 million
After missing all of 2017 with an Achilles injury, Hyder struggled to regain his form from the previous season when he led the Lions with eight sacks. Add in the fact that his below average run defense made him a tough fit in a new scheme, and the writing was on the wall for him..
Hyder reinvented his physique while with the Lions in attempting to move to more of an edge role. His decision paid off in his breakout 2016 year with the Lions. However, Achilles injuries present notoriously difficult recoveries in any sport, and it will never be known if Hyder could have adapted last season had he not missed a whole year.
With the Cowboys, Hyder will be competing for snaps on an potentially devastating defensive line. Pro-Bowl edge rusher DeMarcus Lawrence is the unquestioned lynchpin at one end spot. He will likely be flanked by recent acquisition Robert Quinn, who has averaged six sacks over the past four seasons.
Hyder could help his case thanks to his previous experience playing on the inside as well as on the edge. He could also find some opportunities if former first round pick edge Taco Charlton isn’t ready for training camp due ankle and shoulder ailments.
It’s easy to root for long shots who make it in the NFL, and Hyder is a nice story. After going undrafted and toiling on the New York Jets’ practice squad for several seasons, Hyder made the most of his chance with the Lions before his injury. Maybe returning to play in his home state of Texas will be another positive chapter in his tale.
Which of these former Lions will you be keeping an eye on in 2019? Let us know in the comments section below.