The Harbaugh Bowl wasn’t nearly as exciting on Thursday night as it has been in years past, but there were some interesting takeaways from the Ravens’ blowout win over the Niners, including the performance of second round pick Carlos Hyde.
Hyde, the former Ohio State star back, looked explosive on limited carries. He showed good burst, quickness to the outside, and gained 39 yards on only five carries.
There is potentially a huge role available for Hyde in his rookie season with the 49ers. After letting Anthony Dixon bolt to Buffalo and losing Kendall Hunter to injury, Hyde’s opportunity has gone from a questionable ‘maybe’ to an ‘on-call’ situation really quickly.
What we saw from him this past year at Ohio State was nothing short of an incredible turnaround, which led many to believe he’d be the best running back in the draft.
One injury to Frank Gore and Hyde is going to be called upon for significant action, but I think he’s more than a handcuff. For an offense that loves to run the football and does it really well, I think Hyde can earn himself some carries in critical game situations.
He’s big, fast, quick, has good balance, and knows how to power his way into the end zone. He’s also a very solid receiver out of the backfield when needed.
If Hyde can provide the kind of burst he showed on Thursday night consistently in his rookie year, he’s going to earn a lot of carries and push for a #1 job sooner rather than later.