While the Detroit Lions’ defense is struggling this season, there is a positive on that side of the ball. Kerry Hyder is becoming a stud on the defensive line. Hyder so far has six total tackles and four sacks in three games this year. Lions fans look at him and think of a former player who also stood out on the defensive line and came out of nowhere.
How Kerry Hyder and George Johnson are Similar
George Johnson was a former defensive end for the Detroit Lions. He started out his career in Tampa, only getting two total tackles in the four games he played. In 2012 he played in seven total games, five with Tampa and two with Minnesota, ending with only five assisted tackles. In 2013 Johnson stayed with the Vikings but was cut and didn’t sign with a team again until he joined Detroit in 2014. That was where he really emerged with appearances in all 16 games, getting 29 total tackles, six sacks, a pass deflection and a fumble recovery.
George Johnson was a gem in the rough for Detroit and he was going to be a free agent. Detroit didn’t want to match the three year, $9 million deal Tampa wanted for him, so they traded a seventh round pick and Johnson to Tampa for a fifth round pick. In 2015 Johnson couldn’t get back to his peak in 2014, getting two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 23 total tackles.
How is Kerry Hyder like George Johnson? Both are undrafted free agents and haven’t done much with their previous team. Hyder was on the practice squad for the New York Jets in 2014, but was never called up. He was then brought into Detroit last season and only appeared in one game, but didn’t do anything.
This season is different though. In just three games Hyder is tied in second for sacks the in NFL with four, behind Von Miller with five. Kerry Hyder is a gem for Detroit and like Johnson, his contract will be up after this year. Hyder is only making $450K this year, so he will expect to get paid more – and he should. Detroit would be crazy to let him walk away, even though they let Johnson leave and it turned out to be a good call on that. Hyder is younger and Detroit needs help with Ziggy Ansah being out for a long period of time. He shouldn’t ask for what Johnson did, going from $450K to $9 million is a huge increase. Detroit should be able to sign him to a three year deal for $3 million which is a good increase in pay and isn’t much of a risk for the organization – and he can be dropped if he falls flat like Johnson.
Overall, these players are similar, same position and having a career year on the same team. Detroit Lions fans need something good to look at with a weak defense right now, and if a steal at defensive end who could have a spectacular season is that, it is better than thinking about the other glaring needs on the team.