Why DE Kerry Hyder Jr. may be the Seahawks’ next Michael Bennett

Mar 24, 2021, 3:57 PM | Updated: 4:10 pm
Seahawks Kerry Hyder Jr....
Two of Kerry Hyder Jr.'s career-high 8.5 sacks in 2020 were of Arizona QB Kyler Murray. (Getty)

Former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps doesn’t like to compare Seahawks players to greats from the past, but with reported new Seattle defensive end Kerry Hyder Jr., the comparison is too strong to avoid.

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Hyder, who according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter is coming up I-5 from the 49ers to the Seahawks on a three-year deal, is 270 pounds, came into the league as an undrafted free agent, and has shown an ability to play not just multiple defensive end spots but also move inside to defensive tackle.

Sound familiar? If it does, then it’s probably because you’re thinking of Michael Bennett, a versatile 275-pound DE who went undrafted but blossomed into a Super Bowl champion and three-time Pro Bowl selection with the Seahawks.

“There is a strong familiarity,” Heaps admitted Wednesday on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy. “I don’t like to compare guys to players from the past, but everybody is familiar with Michael Bennett and the role that he played and the way that he played the game. Kerry Hyder Jr. carries a lot of those similar traits that Michael Bennett carried.”

Heaps isn’t the only Seahawks insider who sees the similarities. Brock Huard, 710 ESPN Seattle’s other resident quarterback, made a similar point Tuesday night on Twitter (note: @mosesbread72 is Bennett’s Twitter handle).

So what’s the scouting report on Hyder?

“I would say that he doesn’t have the explosive first step that Michael Bennett had coming off the ball, but he is extremely savvy, he knows how to use his hands, he knows how to transition from speed to power,” Heaps said. “He’s just very familiar with who he is, what he can do, what his strengths are, and man does he give a whole lot of effort. It shows up on tape every single game.”

Hyder’s work ethic especially jumps out to Heaps.

“What excites me is this is the type of player that you want on your team for the simple fact of he has a relentless motor, he’s a guy that sets the tone when you come in and work,” he said. “This is not a high former first-round pick, this is not a guy who’s made a ton of money through the course of his career. He’s an underdog.”

That work ethic has paid off in Hyder becoming what Heaps likes to call a “Swiss army knife” on the defensive line.

“He is extremely versatile. As I said as I watched the film on him, this guy is a complete Swiss army knife and he has been effective at every single spot that you put him in along the defensive line,” he said. “Five-technique, which is where he’s going to be the starter at, I think he’ll hold that down very, very well. He’s an effective pass rusher, he’s an effective run stuffer, as well. Very active in both phases of the game, so there’s a lot to like about Kerry Hyder Jr.”

You can hear Heaps’ full comments in the Four-Down Territory segment from Jake and Stacy that begins about 15 minutes into the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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