Carlos Osorio/Associated Press
Carlos Hyde is one of the most powerful tailbacks in college football.
Drafted: Third round, No.57 overall to San Francisco 49ers.
Weight: 230 lbs
Hyde is a powerful, tough back who has ideal size for an NFL tailback. He is a punishing runner who is excellent in short yardage and is a load for opposing defenders to tackle. He has solid pass-catching skills and also works well in pass protection.
Veteran Frank Gore returns as the top tailback in San Francisco, but he has only one year left on his contract. LaMichael James’ future with the 49ers is uncertain, but Kendall Hunter returns as the backup tailback. Former South Carolina star Marcus Lattimore had what was essentially a redshirt year in 2013 while recovering from a serious knee injury suffered in fall 2012 at USC. It is unclear how soon he’ll be able to return to form, so Hyde could find a role behind Gore as a physical back with Anthony Dixon gone.
Hyde was a bruising presence in the Buckeyes’ backfield, one which will be hard to replace. Sophomore Ezekiel Elliott has the best chance of doing so. Last fall, the 225-pound Elliott averaged 8.1 yards per carry with excellent speed and a physical presence.
Senior Rod Smith and sophomore Bri’onte Dunn will also challenge for playing time. Smith stands 6’3”, 238 pounds, while Dunn, who redshirted last fall, is 6’0”, 222. Elliott, who had 262 yards and two touchdowns, was impressive in spring and figures to have the first shot at lead-dog carries, but it’s possible that OSU could use a backfield by committee to replace the durable, hard-running Hyde.