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One of the top running backs in this year’s class is Carlos Hyde of Ohio State. After four years in Columbus, Oh., the 5-foot-11, 238-pound back still manages a 40 time in the 4.58 range and is warranting consideration to be the first back off the board in May.
Building off a junior campaign in which he totaled 970 yards and 16 touchdowns in 10 games, Hyde rushed for 1,521 yards, 15 touchdowns and a 7.3 yards per carry average in 11 games this season, proving he is capable of handling a workhorse type of a load. During one stretch, he posted four straight 100-yard games — all of which came against Big Ten foes — and eight total on the season.
Scouts like Hyde’s size, as well as his ability and anticipation to burst through holes. He also displays patience as he waits for his blocks to set up, and he’s able to make quick cuts and push the pile. Many liken him to Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy, who was drafted in the first round of the draft last year, as both have similar running styles and superb field vision.
But there are questions about Hyde. Though he averaged a heavy workload with the Buckeyes, some view Hyde a complementary backfield piece. Some scouts knock his overall speed and quickness, adding a greater importance of his NFL Combine outing.
Then there’s the off-the-field issues. Hyde played in just 11 games last season because of a three-game suspension. Hyde was allegedly involved in an incident with a female at a nightclub prior to the season, though after it occurred the back supposedly showed a lot of remorse.
CBS Sports ranks Hyde as the No. 3 running back in the class behind Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey and Auburn’s Tre Mason, while ESPN’s Todd McShay lists him as the top prospect at that position. Earlier in the college football season, Mel Kiper Jr. had Hyde as high as No. 19 overall on his Big Board and the top back. Most mock drafts project Hyde to fall somewhere between the end of the first round or early in the second.
Should Hyde come off the board in the first round, one of the most likely destinations would be to the Cleveland Browns who pick No. 26 overall. The Browns need to replace Trent Richardson, who was traded away to the Indianapolis Colts after being selected No. 4 overall in the 2011 draft. No team picking at the end of the round has a greater need at the position than Cleveland, who could be interested in someone who played their college ball in their own backyard.