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October 6, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Carlos Hyde (34) scores against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the second quarter at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft: Pre-Season Breakdown - Carlos Hyde, RB Ohio State


Carlos Hyde’s offseason has been overtaken by the incident with a woman at a club caught on tape that will cost him the first three games of the season.  Once people get past that when it comes to watching the Buckeyes power runner, they realize just how much the offense relied on him to function.  While Braxton Miller gets a substantial amount of the headlines because of the excitement he brings, Hyde was the workhorse in a number of games.  They kept riding him in games when the passing game was struggling and the defense loaded the box to stop him and Miller as a runner.  In 10 games, the junior ran the ball 185 times for 970 yards, caught the ball 8 times for 51 yards with 17 total touchdowns.

Hyde has a remarkable amount of physical talent for the running back position and with what should be a better passing attack, he should be able to have a more productive season when he comes back from suspension.  If Miller can be a better passer in addition to his ability to run the ball, it should allow Hyde to face fewer loaded boxes and give him more opportunities to make big plays.  Hyde needs to improve his decisiveness as a runner and how well he anticipates the play in addition to working to be a better threat as a receiver, but he still enters the process as a fringe top 100 pick.  If teams do their due diligence and decide that his character is not a problem and he makes strides as a senior, he could be one of the top power backs in the 2014 draft and become a top 100 pick.  Hyde has the talent and potential where he could end up being a better pro than he was in college.

Vitals & Build

Hyde is listed at 6’ 232lbs and is an impressive athlete.  He is incredibly powerful and strong but he also possesses terrific feet.  Hyde is far more agile than some might expect and can make quick cuts and displays good body control.  He is explosive and has good speed for his size.  Hyde is actually a better athlete than a football player and if he can more use of his athleticism, he could become an even better player this year and going into the NFL.  He is NFL ready now in terms of his build, but it stands to reason he will only come in stronger and if he can do that while maintaining his athleticism, he could be extremely impressive.

Running Style

First and foremost, Hyde is a power back who runs North and South.  He is extremely difficult to bring down when he has his momentum going and he gets behind his pads.  Hyde can wear down defenses over the course of a game and they simply get sick of trying to bring him down, so he can be a great closer at the end of the game.

For as much power as Hyde has, he is also nimble and able to make jump cuts that enable him to make opponents miss.  He is quick enough and fast enough where he can get to the outside and attack opponents on the edge.  Because of his strength, opponents prepare to take on a hit and Hyde will make them miss and run right by them.  Hyde is much quicker and faster than many might expect and can explode through the hole with the speed to make huge runs.

Where Hyde gets himself into trouble is when he hesitates.  There are times when he will take too long to read the hole or just does not hit it like he should and opponents are able to stop him before he gets started.  The difference between Hyde running decisively and being hesitant is night and day.  He can be downright fearsome and incredibly difficult to stop when he just attacks the line of scrimmage and finds a lane to run the ball.  When he is hesitant, he is incredibly underwhelming and becomes a fraction of what he can be as a runner.

The other area that hurts Hyde is his vision.  It seems so inconsistent from one play to the next.  There are times when he seems to anticipate the play well, will attack the hole, make a jump cut to make someone miss and continue running like he knew what was coming.  On the other hand, there are times when Hyde will run into up his guard’s butt and it is not a short yardage carry where he is just trying to get a first down and move the chains.  It will be a random 1st-and-10 or 2nd-and-7 type situation and he just slams into his own lineman and then bounces off and tries to make a play from there.

If Hyde can be more consistently decisive and make better judgment when it comes to seeing plays as they develop, he can be as good as his physical tools suggest he could be.  When Hyde is on his game, he can be a wrecking ball between the tackles that also has the ability to use quickness to make opponents miss and attack the outside with the speed to make big plays.

Route Running & Technique

Hyde has not been utilized much in the passing game thus far in his career and much of what he has done has been on screens and dump off type plays.  He has not done much in terms of running routes and that may not change this year.  The Buckeyes have so many running backs in the fold that can do a number of different things and Miller is his own check down option in many respects, so Hyde is unlikely to see much action as a receiver.  He will likely have to prove himself in offseason workouts and All-Star games.

Hands

Hyde does not have bad hands, but he has not been tested much either.  By virtue of being a power back, he has that much more pressure on him to have a vice grip on the football to avoid fumbles, but he has only caught 18 passes in two years.  Again, this is probably something he will have to prove in the postseason process.

Blocking

Hyde is big, strong and athletic, so he should be able to dominate as a blocker.  The dynamic of blocking to protect a quarterback like Miller with all of his athleticism is certainly different as he can make opponents miss and extend plays, but that also increases the chance for holding penalties.  As a result, Hyde has had to learn quickly how to block without getting flagged.  In addition, because of Miller’s athleticism, Hyde is more likely to protect pressure from up the middle than from the outside.

System Fit

Hyde is tailor made for a power system that has designed running lanes.  He has experience lining up behind a fullback or as a single back, but give him the ball and tell him where he needs to go.  One team that has made a habit of collecting big, athletic backs has been Seattle.  Marshawn Lynch is actually their smallest back at 215lbs.  Robert Turbin and Christine Michael are both athletic and over 220lbs.  Oakland is another team that seems to be making an effort to bring in big, athletic backs.  Hyde projects as a rotational back right now but he could have a nice niche as a closer at the end of games to come in and run down tired opponents to close games.  He has the potential to be a feature back if he can play up to his incredible athleticism consistently.

Schedule

Sat, Aug. 31 vs. Buffalo
Sat, Sept. 7 vs. San Diego State
Sat, Sept. 14 at Cal
Sat, Sept 21 vs. Florida A&M
Sat, Sept. 28 vs. Wisconsin
Sat, Oct. 5 at Northwestern
Sat, Oct. 19 vs. Iowa
Sat, Oct. 26 vs. Penn State
Sat, Nov. 2 at Purdue
Sat, Nov. 16 at Illinois
Sat, Nov. 23 vs. Indiana
Sat, Nov. 30 vs. Michigan

Notable Games

The biggest test for Hyde could be against Wisconsin in his second game back.  They always seem to have a tough run based in size and strength led by Chris Borland at inside linebacker.  The game that could be a decent test will be Iowa.  Iowa has a talented set of linebackers led by James Morris that could give Hyde some problems, but it will depend on their ability to contain the Buckeye passing game.  The following week, the Buckeyes host Penn State.  There are many expecting a drop off from last year without the emotional bank to pull from with their ‘Us against the World’ mentality, but Bill O’Brien seems to be able to get that team ready.  Finally, the game against Michigan is a huge game because of the rivalry involved.  Hyde was dominant in the Buckeye victory last year and will look to go two for two against the Maize and Blue.

NFL Comparison

Hyde could end up resembling Michael Turner of the Atlanta Falcons and San Diego Chargers.  Turner was relatively anonymous when he was selected in the fifth round out of Northern Illinois but found a niche with the Chargers as a power back behind LaDainian Tomlinson.  He then signed to become the focal point of the Falcons rushing attack and had some great seasons there.  That could be the type of path that Hyde has in the NFL.  Like with Turner, he is a power back first but has used quickness at times.  Hyde is probably a better athlete than Turner was coming out, but it remains to be seen if he can have the success Turner has had in the NFL.

Draft Projection

Hyde has so much physical talent and when he is running well, he can be dominant.  He needs to be more decisive and anticipate plays with more consistency to keep playing at a high level throughout games.  Hyde looks like a day three pick as it is with the potential to become one of the top power backs in the draft.  It would not be surprising if Hyde raises his stock when he gets to the postseason process in All-Star games as well as the combine, where he could really put on a show with his athleticism.  The potential is there for him to be a better pro than he college player because he still has not reached the level of play his athleticism suggests he can be.

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