Carlos Hyde is a your typical Big 10 back, a physical downhill runner. Since becoming the feature back under Urban Meyer in his Junior and Senior seasons, Hyde powered his way to just under 2,500 yards and 31 touchdowns in 21 games. Featuring a well built 230 pound body and quick feet Hyde looks to follow in the footsteps of fellow bruisers Eddy Lacy and Le'Veon Bell as a workhorse back in the NFL.
Like we said, Hyde is physical specimen that fully looks the part of a NFL back. What he lacks in speed, explosiveness and change of direction he makes up for with brute force.
Powerful & Punishing Runner: A quick glance at Hyde's tape and it is obvious that he enjoys contact. Nearly all of his runs end with him ramming himself into defenders looking for valuable extra yardage. His low pad level, strong legs and refusal to go down on first contact make him a very effective back between the tackles.
Ability to Break it Outside: While Hyde is most comfortable in between the tackles he showed the capability to break runs outside when defenses crashed inside. Hyde doesn't possess elite speed by any definition but against linebackers and defensive ends he has just enough speed to get to the edge and turn the corner. Once in the open field defensive backs better watch out because Hyde is still looking for contact.
3 Down Back: During his final two seasons at Ohio State Hyde showed the ability to play all three downs. Not only did Hyde slip out of the backfield and display soft hands, he showed the ability and desire to pick up blitzers in pass protection.
Explosiveness: The biggest knock on Hyde is his lack of explosiveness, both in terms of top speed and sharp lateral cuts. Hyde's lack of game breaking speed is to be expected -- he is 230 pounds after all-- but his inability to put his foot in the ground and change directions will limit his game. He simply lacks the ability to make jump cuts or any powerful quick lateral movement. This becomes any issue when defensive linemen get penetration as Hyde is unable to fluidly switch running lanes.
Maturity: Some teams may knock Hyde down their draft board due to his alleged assault on a woman last fall. He was suspended for the opening 3 games of his senior season but no charges will ever filed. Still off the field incidents like this can be a red flag for some teams.
Overall: A powerful and punishing North/South runner, Hyde is a valuable commodity. More teams are recognizing the value of a power back as defenses begin to shift towards quicker, lighter defenders to handle the spread elements in the NFL. With his ability to punish defenses up the middle and provide a real outlet in the pass game Hyde could be a true three down back in the NFL.
For the 49ers this is a great pick in terms of both value and fit. Many draft punits including ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay had Hyde as the best back in the draft and a 1st rounder in terms of talent. Hyde only dropped to the late second round because running backs have been devalued to an all time low.
Along with that talent, Hyde physical downhill style will fit perfectly in Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman's power running scheme. And a look at the 49ers depth chart and there isn't a true power back so Hyde provides an instant goal line runner and the potential heir apparent to Frank Gore as the go to back.
This peak speaks to the quality of Trent Baalke and the 49ers front office. First, Baalke traded down to pick up a similar pick to the one they sent to the Bills for Stevie Johnson. Then Baalke-- the Draft Ninja-- pounced and traded back up to grab the best player on the board that happened to fit perfectly with the 49ers needs before a running back needy team like the Colts could snatch him up.