Hyde had to spend the 2009 fall semester at Fork Union Military Academy before transferring to Ohio State (just like Eddie George) because he couldn’t begin attending Ohio State after he didn’t qualify academically. Although he has had a few off field issues and was suspended for three games by Ohio State (he was involved in an assault investigation during the summer of 2013 and he was a person of interest after an altercation with a woman at a bar — charges were dropped), there is no doubt that Hyde is talented. In all probability, he will be the first running back taken in May’s draft. Hyde is quick, has size (6-foot, 230-pounds) and can be difficult to bring down. While he didn’t really catch the ball out of the backfield in college, at his pro day Hyde showed he does have soft hands. In addition, he is a good blocker.
So all of that means the Patriots should select Hyde with the 29th pick in this year’s draft right?
While it is understandable that the Patriots are interested in Hyde and they should do their due diligence, they have more pressing needs to fill with the 29th pick (if they choose to keep it and don’t trade up or down), like pass rush, tight end, OG/LT and DT or adding a big, marquee wide receiver. The Patriots need to address those areas before they draft a running back.
The Patriots have enough talent at running back for the 2014 season with Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley (provided he stops fumbling). Yes, both Vereen and Ridley will be free agents after the 2014 season, but the Patriots can address their running back needs after the 2014 season. There’s no rush. The Patriots have other immediate needs they need to take care of.
While there is some talent at the running back position in this year’s draft (Hyde, Ka’Deem Carey out of Arizona and Tre Mason out of Auburn come to mind), is there really a player who is projected to be a franchise running back? Probably not. I’ve been wrong before, but I just don’t see a running back in this year’s draft who will set the NFL on fire.
Plus, just in case you haven’t been paying attention, the NFL is a passing league. The Patriots need to address the areas that would help bolster their passing game (while they still have Tom Brady, one of the best QBs in NFL history) and disrupt their opponent’s passing game (one more time, the Patriots need a pass rusher). They do not need to use the 29th pick to add depth at running back.
No one ever really knows what draft day will bring. There is always at least one surprise (a player drafted way too early or a player unexpectedly slides), and that’s why mock drafts (although fun) are not really useful. That being said, it will be relatively shocking if the Patriots use the 29th pick on a running back. They could really put that pick to better use by either trading down and acquiring more picks or by selecting a player to fill a position of much greater need.
Nothing personal against Hyde or any of the other running backs in this year’s draft, but the words, “with the 29th pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the New England Patriot select [name], running back, [college attended],” should not come out of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell‘s mouth.