Free Agent Signing: Carlos Hyde

Coming back home is always a great feeling. You get the familiar faces, sights, sounds and smells. While Carlos Hyde is not from Northeast Ohio, he does have the Ohio blood running in him. Originally from Cincinnati and then an Ohio State Buckeye – Hyde knows how to play that hard-nosed smash mouth football the AFC North is accustomed to.

The Cleveland Browns decided early on that they were going to move on from former starting running back Isaiah Crowell. Crowell has found a new home with the New York Jets. With his departure that left Duke Johnson and Matt Dayes as the only running backs on the roster. Johnson and Dayes fill the same type of role as a 3rd-down change-of-pace back.

Many thought the Browns would look to address the position in the draft. With Saquon Barkley as the potential top prospect in this draft and the impressive combine – many thought he was the new lock for the #1 overall pick. John Dorsey has a history of not drafting a running back in the first round and on Wednesday morning he confirmed he will avoid that again.

The Browns signed Carlos Hyde to a 3-year, $15M contract, after spending his first four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. During his time as a 49er, Hyde totaled 655 rushes/2,729 yards/21 TD. Hyde was a 2nd-round pick and was drafted to replace the 49ers all-time leading rusher, Frank Gore. His rookie year was served as the backup but the season of 2015 saw Hyde as the opening day starter. The year was cut short by a season-ending foot fracture.

Hyde returned in the 2016 season where he played in a total of 13 out of the 16 games. He missed a game due to a concussion and then in late December he tore his left MCL which caused him to miss the last two games. While the injury to the MCL left the season with a sour taste, he still performed very well in the games he did play. In the 2016 season, he ran for a total of 988 yards and six TDs. Just this last year was Hyde’s most complete season as an NFL running back.

This season was the first season we got to see Hyde make it through a full 16 game season. He was just shy of 1,000 yards, at 938 yards and eight TDs. Another part of his game that stood out was his ability to provide another playmaker in the passing game. He caught a total of 59 passes last season, which is nine more than his first three seasons. This shows that there is still more than Hyde is capable of and is getting better as he gains more time on the field.

The Browns offense needed to add a starting running back who could come in and be that workhorse on 1st and 2nd down. The luxury of having Duke Johnson is that he is one of the league’s best 3rd down options. This will allow Hyde to do what he does best which is creating by being a north-south runner. He will run with power, hit holes hard and is not afraid to lower his should and create contact.

My projection for Carlos Hyde this season – 1,100 yards and 10 TD

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