A former four-star recruit out of Naples, Florida, El Guapo has left Ohio State as one of the greatest to ever tote the magic diamond in the modern era. It only took him 10 games to become Urban Meyer's first 1,000 yard rusher. He averaged a monsterous 7.3 yards a carry over the course of the 2013 season.
Yet, even among Ohio State fans, it seems doubts still linger about Hyde's potential at the next level. (Note: Eddie George, who knows a thing or two about running the football in the NFL, is not one of Carlos' doubters.)
Is Carlos worthy of a top 10 pick in today's NFL? No, but then again, no running back this side of Adrian Peterson (who is an alien, by the way) is worthy of a high draft pick. It's not a slight to say that about Hyde.
I do believe with the NFL (and football in general) opening up on the offensive side of the ball, defenses will have to become smaller to adjust. Compound this with offensive schemes designed to make defenses defend every inch of width on the field, and you can see where bruising backs like Hyde could be in position for a big time comeback.
In fact, there's already precedence for bigger backs still having an every-down role in the NFL. Remember this picture from last summer that temporarily melted Twitter?
All Fat Eddie Lacy responded with was 1,178 yards (4.1 average) and 11 touchdowns on the ground. He also chipped in 257 yards in receiving. This effort was good enough to be named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and Lacy only played in 15 games.
To me, Carlos Hyde is a more violent, less obese version of Eddie Lacy. He's definitely got better footwork, and while he might not match Eddie Lacy's top-end speed, it's not as if Lacy or Hyde gain their yards through flashy speed.
Despite what the closing minutes of Ohio State's games against Michigan State and Clemson would tell you, there was not a more dependable running back in the country on third down. And no matter what direction NFL offenses are heading in, being able to pick up three or four tough yards on third down will always be a valued commodity.
Whether it's steam-rolling between the tackles, his underrated vision as a runner, picking up a blitzer or catching the ball out of the backfield, Carlos Hyde can truly do it all. His most impressive trait, however, is his balance. It's superb for a man his size, but I'll let the best play of Ohio State's 2013 season speak for itself:
What a run by Carlos Hyde, indeed. (For the record, that's a cornfed 6'2" 205 free safety whose hit Carlos absorbs after breaking the first two tackles.)
El Guapo may not set the world aflame with his forty time later today at the NFL combine (even if he's predicting a low 4.4 40-time), but he's going to make some GM look very savvy wherever he ends up getting drafted.
CC: Ray Farmer, General Manager of the Cleveland Browns