San Francisco 49ers: Carlos Hyde’s time to shine

The 49ers’ running back is on the verge of entering the league’s elite runners.

It’s been a long-time coming for Carlos Hyde. The talented runner from Ohio State has unquestioned talent but has never been considered amongst the best in the game. But this season could be the year Hyde enters the upper echelon of NFL running backs. 

Slow progression 

Carlos Hyde began his NFL career in 2014 as a backup to the legendary Frank Gore. Although he didn’t start a single game, he managed a 4.0 yard average on his 83 carries and showed an explosiveness that the aging Gore no longer possessed. Every year since Hyde has improved his yards per attempt, in spite of the deterioration of his offensive line since his rookie season. 

This season Carlos Hyde is taking his game to another level. His 84.3 yards per game is third amongst all running backs, and his 5.2 yards per carry is second only to the ridiculous Kareem Hunt (8.5). Hyde should also expect more touches in the coming weeks; his current average of 16.3 touches puts him at ninth in the league, but San Francisco will need to feed the beast to stay in games this season. 

What’s holding him back?

Durability. The 6’0″, 230lb running back has had problems staying on the field his whole career. Since taking on the role as lead back for the 49ers, Hyde has missed 12 of 32 regular season games due to injury. So far, Hyde has played in all three of the 49ers’ games, but is currently listed as questionable with a hip issue. 

This is the time where Carlos Hyde needs to step up and come through for his team and himself. If he wants to be considered a top running back in the NFL, he needs to be reliable, durable, and play despite not being 100 percent. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has said Hyde is a game-time decision, but if you’re a Niner fan you’ve seen this story before and need to see a throwback, gritty performance from your running back. Hyde has the ability, but this season we need to see if he has the heart. 

Sky’s the limit

The 49ers want to grind out games, and to do that they need Carlos Hyde to be their grinder. If Carlos Hyde can keep himself on the field, San Francisco will gladly give him as many carries as he can handle. Don’t be surprised if Hyde finishes as the league’s leading rusher this season, a lone bright spot on an otherwise tame Niners’ offense. Hyde has a lot of career firsts he can achieve this year: first pro bowl, first all-pro selection, first 1,000 yard season (finished with 988 in 2016), first 16-game season. Hyde can reach all these milestones this year, it’s all about how bad he wants it. 

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Dave Drain


I’m passionate about Football, Basketball, Baseball, and Golf. College or the Pro’s? It doesn’t matter. In addition to writing about sports, I also coach year-round in my community, teaching middle-school boys the fundamentals of the sports I love, as well as helping them grow-up into outstanding young men. Don’t get me started talking stats, and I’m always up for a debate on the greats of the game!