Carlos Hyde is having a tough time at the combine. There’s no denying it.
First, El Guapo put up a fairly pedestrian number of bench press reps, managing just 19. Then he turned in a 4.66 40 time, coming up limp at the end of the run with a pulled hamstring.
Some are saying the performance (particularly the 40) will cost Hyde what could have been a first round selection. Unfortunately, this is a grim NFL reality. A player’s performance on Saturdays simply isn’t weighted as heavily as the poke and prod fest currently under-way in Indianapolis.
I feel for Carlos. He was an absolute beast in 2013, putting up 1,521 yards and scoring 15 touchdowns in just three-quarters of a season. Add the first three games in, and Hyde was probably making a trip to the Big Apple in December. So, I’d like to make the case for Carlos, juxtaposing gameday performances against traditional combine measuring sticks.
40 Yard Dash
As aforementioned, Hyde posted a 4.66 in the 40 on Sunday. The time was the 23rd-fastest out of the 36 running backs participating. Not exactly an eye-opener for No. 34.
While Hyde won't soon be mistaken for Kent State speedster Dri Archer, he does have a second gear. He’s a big man, but he showed flashes of break-away speed during the 2013 season. Here he is outrunning most of the Illinois secondary. 4.66-ing it all the way to the end zone.
Hyde managed 19 reps on the 225 lbs bench press. For us mortals, that's quite a feat. For soon-to-be NFL running backs at the combine it didn’t even break the top 10.
This result was the one that surprised many when it comes to Hyde. His strength looked to be his biggest asset heading into Indianapolis and teams were viewing him as a player with NFL power.
Who knows what happened. It’s hard to imagine millions of dollars resting on a single lift session. Undoubtedly nerves creep in. But, all NFL scouts need to do is take a look at Hyde’s 2013 tape to know he’s a human bowling ball who simply overpowered opponents nearly every time he touched the rock. Here’s an excellent example from the B1G Championship game where Michigan State defensive back Isaiah Lewis was reduced to a rag doll under the sheer force of El Guapo.
Hyde came in 26th among running backs with a 114" broad jump. No doubt catapulting 242 lbs forward is no easy task, and Hyde performed admirably all things considered.
But, much like most of these exercises, when is a running back ever attempting a broad jump on the football field? Obviously it’s a way to test lower body strength and athleticism, but I’d rather have my running back able to perform a task with a direct correlation to the field of play. So, here’s my submission for Hyde. It’s no feet first broad jump, but it resulted in an improbable seven. If I’m a team owner or general manager, that’s all I care about.
Last but certainly not least, El Guapo recorded a 34.5" vertical jump, good enough for 20th.
Again, not too shabby considering the sheer amount of mass Hyde has got to get off the ground. In the sterile combine environment a standing 34.5" vertical jump is considered average at best. But scouts should be more interested in what players like Hyde can do at full speed with defenders nipping at their heels.
Hopefully this clip is making its way around NFL front offices. It’s Hyde jumping over an entire human with the pedal on the floor. Are you not entertained?
Obviously the combine serves some utility. It’s a way for NFL franchises shelling out millions of dollars to get a look at what they’re buying in a controlled environment. At the same time, far too much emphasis is placed on combine metrics without equally weighting what players were able to accomplish on the field of play. Carlos Hyde has all of the tools to be a successful NFL running back. His combine stats might not show it, but the tape certainly does.