First, running the ball still happens in the NFL. While passing attacks are growing in the league — and even in college — teams still have to run the ball.
“If you look in the Super Bowl, you had two big-time running backs in the Super Bowl playing,” Hyde said Friday from the NFL Combine. “You can’t just pass the ball the whole game. At one point you’ve got to hand the ball off and make the defense play the run. If you start passing the whole game then the defense can just play off and that’s when interceptions happen.”
Hyde’s got a point and while the running game has been de-emphasized in recent years, teams that run the ball well and maintain some balance on offense are usually pretty successful. Last season, six of the top 10 rushing attacks in the NFL made the playoffs.
Second, Hyde thinks he’s the best back in the draft this year.
“I definitely feel like I should be regarded as the best running back in this draft,” he said. “I feel like my game does enough talking. If you watch the film, you can see that for yourself.”
As a senior in 2013, Hyde was a true workhorse back for the Buckeyes, earning Big Ten Running Back of the Year honors for his 1,500-yard, 15 TD effort (he had 16 TDs as a junior). He ended the season with nine straight 100-yard rushing games and he thinks his bruising style compares favorably to two of the league’s best physical runners.
“When I think about my game, I think about guys like Frank Gore, Marshawn Lynch,” Hyde said. “Those type of guys. I like to watch those guys play. You see them running the ball out of the shotgun, spread plays, kind of what I did at Ohio State. I watch them to see how they run, how much success they had in those run plays and that’s kind of similar to what I did at Ohio State.”
Hyde measured in at 5-foot-11 and 230 pounds. Scouts think he’s got the size to be a team’s feature back. Hyde said he expects to run the 40 in the 4.4 range, a number he doesn’t anticipate other backs his size will be able to do.