Williams, Armstead thrilled about 49ers’ trade for Gregory

Williams, Armstead thrilled about 49ers’ trade for Gregory originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

A pair of 49ers team captains offered their perspective on San Francisco’s acquisition of Randy Gregory, sharing a unique view through the lens of respected veterans in the locker room.

One of them was defensive lineman Arik Armstead, whose familiarity with Gregory goes back to when they both were selected in the 2015 NFL Draft.

“We were in the same draft class, so we did a pre-draft show together, that’s how we met, at the combine and stuff,” Armstead told reporters after practice on Friday. “He’s an amazing player. It’s a weird situation that he’s coming from, we got an opportunity to get him, so it’s amazing, and everyone is really excited.”

To make space on the roster for Gregory, the 49ers released defensive tackle Kerry Hyder Jr., who was the team’s sack leader in 2020 and played a pivotal role on last year’s team as well.

While Armstead was visibly excited about the addition of Gregory, he also made it a point to highlight the impact that Hyder Jr. had during his two stints with the team.

“I also want to highlight Kerry Hyder [Jr.] and the contributions that he’s made for our team throughout the years,” Armstead shared. “You think about him as well too, but also we’re really excited about Randy and what he can bring to our team, but Kerry also made a lot of contributions to our team and I don’t want that to go unnoticed.”

Armstead was asked how Gregory fits in with the rest of the 49ers’ talented defensive line and expressed the utmost confidence in his newest teammate’s ability to transition and be a contributor seamlessly.

“He [Gregory] fits in perfect,” Armstead said. “I forgot how tall he was, he fits in perfect. His speed, he’s able to be effective in the pass and run game, and he’s going to help us tremendously. Adding in another guy to what we’re already doing is going to be amazing. He’s a really talented player, he’s shown that for a number of years in the NFL. We’re both in year nine, so yeah, he’s going to bring a lot to our team.”

All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams knows Gregory well from their days battling in the NFC East. Williams also knows a thing or two about the makeup of a talented edge rusher and praised the motor and intensity that Gregory plays with.

“He adds everything we’re about,” Williams explained. “Guy plays like his hair is on fire, guy who will give you 100 percent until the whistle. Obviously, a great pass rusher will get after the quarterback. Sets the edge in the run game. Everything we’re about, he’s about. It’s a perfect fit.”

Williams was asked about Gregory’s ability to set the edge and get after the quarterback and how unique that is for a player of his size.

“It is pretty rare, but we ask our [defensive] ends to do that, and they do it pretty well, so I think he fits right in,” Williams said. “Being at 240 [pounds] doesn’t really matter because of his frame, he’s a bigger dude, longer guy, and the explosion off the ball can make up for any weight deficit, you would think. Super explosive, super twitchy guy, really long arms, really hard to keep blocking, so I think he’s going to fit right in.”

Gregory is stepping into an ideal situation with the 49ers, joining an already-stacked defensive line that now has a strong case for boasting the most talented front four in the league with his addition.

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