Former Iowa defensive back Micah Hyde will enter the 2013 NFL draft with the potential of being drafted as either a cornerback or safety.
A three-year starter at cornerback for the Hawkeyes, Hyde made 240 total tackles, intercepted seven passes and defensed 36 others. However, his size (6'0", 200 lbs) and physical, aggressive disposition will make him a candidate to play at the back end of NFL defenses.
Hyde is likely to be taken in the mid-to-late rounds of the 2013 NFL draft.
In the following slides, we'll present some of his top highlights from his college career at Iowa.
Hyde registered just one career game with multiple interceptions, and it came here against Pittsburgh in 2011.
On his first interception, Hyde tracks a deep pass down the far sidelines from Pittsburgh quarterback Tino Sunseri. The underthrown ball is attacked at its highest point, as Hyde athletically intercepts the pass in front of the receiver.
A better throw might have beat Hyde here, but credit his ability to make up ground and attack the throw at its highest point.
One of the more important interceptions in Hyde's career also came against Pittsburgh in 2011.
With the Panthers down four but on the move late in the fourth quarter, Hyde sealed the win for Iowa with a turnover.
Facing a 2nd-and-6 from his own 37-yard line, quarterback Tino Sunseri attempts to connect on a go-route against man-to-man coverage. While the receiver has a step, Hyde baits Sunseri into the throw and then undercuts it for a game-sealing interception.
One of the biggest knocks on Hyde during the draft process has been his recovery speed and ability to stay with receivers down the field. It's why some NFL teams might be more comfortable with him at safety.
However, Hyde flashed the ability to make plays down the field in games against both Michigan State and Penn State in 2012.
On at least four different occasions, Hyde is matched up man-to-man with a receiver who is running a deep route. Using his impressive length and hand usage, Hyde is able to break up the pass on three of the attempts.
The biggest play of Hyde's career came against an eventual top-10 pick, and in a bowl game no less.
Down four points to Missouri with under six minutes left in the 2010 Insight Bowl, Hyde turned the game around for Iowa.
On the play, Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert—who would go on to be the the Jacksonville Jaguars' top pick a few months later—rolls to his left to avoid pressure. Hyde sticks with his receiver the entire way, and when Gabbert forces the pass, Hyde is there to intercept.
With the pick secure, Hyde then reverses field and returns the interception for an eventual game-winning touchdown. Iowa would beat Missouri, 27-24.
While the majority of the credit for this touchdown return may not rest with Hyde, it does highlight his playmaking skills with the football in his hands.
Facing Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins (who was eventually picked in the third round by the Washington Redskins) in a battle of top-25 Big Ten teams, Iowa's duo of Hyde and safety Tyler Sash teamed up for a game-changing play.
Sash intercepts a poorly thrown ball from Cousins and then laterals to Hyde, who turns the opportunity into six points with an electric return that put Iowa up 17-0 in the first quarter.
The touchdown was Hyde's second (and last) career return for a score. Iowa ended up routing the fifth-ranked Spartans, 37-6.
Our last highlight provides an overall look at what Hyde brings to the table.
A long, aggressive cornerback, Hyde provides NFL-ready size and instincts to both the cornerback and safety positions.
His ability to contribute against the run and play special teams is an added bonus.
Hyde might not be an elite athlete (in NFL terms, mind you), but he's a player to watch on the second and third day of the NFL draft. His overall skill set should tempt an NFL team into pulling the trigger on a productive player from the University of Iowa.