In the second round of the draft, the 49ers traded down and then back up to draft a running back. The 49ers appeared to have had a loaded backfield before the selection of Carlos Hyde, but you can never have enough good running backs, and Hyde has the potential to be a mauler at the position.
Hyde started at running back for Ohio State the past two seasons and put up impressive numbers while doing so. In 2013, Hyde rushed for 1,521 yards and 16 touchdowns, doing so even though he was suspended for the first three games of the season. Hyde was under investigation for assaulting a woman, but after the incident security tape came out showing that the girl hit Hyde and he did not retaliate, the investigation was closed. The suspension was likely because of Urban Meyer's reputation of being soft on punishing athletes, such as Aaron Hernandez when he was coach of the Florida Gators. The 49ers are getting a bell-cow type of running back, a halfback that fits their style to a T.
Weight: 230 lbs
Broad Jump: 114 inches
Forty Time: 4.66
Bench Reps: 19
Do Your Homework
Watch Hyde take on Michigan State, Clemson, Michigan, and Illinois (featured below):
- Blocking: I love how willing of a blocker Hyde is. He isn't afraid to engage a defender to help another teammate get down the field. Colin Kaepernick could soon love his abilities of getting down the field quick as a lead blocker on a designed Kaepernick run. Hyde still has a ways to go in pass protection but has experience as a pass-blocker. At Ohio State he had many snaps where he was called upon to pick up blitzes and protect quarterback Braxton Miller.
- Strength: Hyde is a throwback, he's not a player that will shy away from contact. He's able to consistently pick up positive yardage because of his power. In this regard he is similar to Frank Gore; how often does Gore have a play that loses yards? Not often. Usually if the play is stuffed, Gore is able to get it back to the line of scrimmage, which Hyde should be able to do in the NFL. Hyde has serious tackle-breaking ability, and safeties and linebackers alike beware, he's ready to run through you.
- Receiving: Good hands for a running back in the receiving game. Has experience running routes and motioning out wide. On halfback swing screens Hyde has quick acceleration and can make a short throw into a sizable gain.
- Open field running: Hyde isn't a burner for his position, but his speed is pretty damn quick once he gets going. While he lacks quick acceleration, once Hyde gets about five yards of open grass in front of him his speed really picks up and his attribute of elusiveness shows. He has good juke moves that fool a defender and leave them out of position, and Hyde then proceeds to blow right past them. Elusiveness is actually a weakness of Hyde's, but with his open field running we see that he has potential in this regard.
- Ability to swing it outside: While Hyde can certainly run between the tackles, his game isn't limited to that. He has enough speed to kick it outside and be a threat.
- Stiff-Arm: Walter Payton would be proud. Don't want a weaker corner to tackle you from behind? A solid stiff arm right to the helmet should do the trick and Hyde has a powerful stiff arm.
- Bust it outside: There are plays where the designed run is inside and the hole is clogged, yet the entire outside is open as can be and Hyde sticks to the play design. This requires a quicker diagnosis of what's happening in front of him and better vision of the whole field.
- Elusiveness: As outlined above in the pros, Hyde is more elusive than advertised. Hyde is in the mold of a Marshawn Lynch, where he isn't afraid to bang pads like ram horns. I love that kind of play, but a simple juke doesn't hurt every now and then.
- Acceleration: It takes Hyde a little while to pick up full speed.
What They Are Saying:
- Hyde admires Frank Gore.
- The 49ers viewed Hyde as the best player available at pick No. 57
- Daniel Jeremiah's comparison to Hyde is Ryan Matthews.
- Todd McShay believes Hyde's skill set is similar to that of Arian Foster
Initially I was hoping for a selection of a receiver like Cody Latimer or Allen Robinson at the spot where they selected Hyde. However, it's hard to argue picking up arguably the best running back in the draft at the tail end of round two. This is a pick that could pay big dividends down the road. Frank Gore is nearing the end of his time with the 49ers, and drafting a running back now to learn the offense is what Trent Baalke ideally wanted and he got his wish. Hyde should see the field in 2014, to what extent remains to be seen. In 2015 and beyond, Hyde could be the feature back for the Niners, or provide a solid one-two punch with Marcus Lattimore. He's a powerful runner and the 49ers are a team that prides itself on toughness and grit. Hyde should fit in well on a team full of bruisers.