By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) — A look at the top 20 NFL Draft prospects that could be on the Bears’ radar, based on projected availability, position of need and player skill:
RB Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
Hand: 9 5/8
College Career: The four-year running back at Ohio State closed his college career with 1521 rushing yards last season on 208 carries, averaging 7.3 yards per attempt. He never averaged less than 5.2 yards per carry in a season in Columbus and carried the Buckeyes’ offense as a senior.
Strengths: Big, powerful back who scratches for every yard. Embraces contact and always falls forward. Definitely a between the tackles runner, but more elusive than he looks when he gets to the second level. Will run through arm tackles and punish linebackers using poor technique. Wasn’t asked to catch the ball out of the backfield a lot, but can do it. Had three receiving touchdowns in 2013. Above-average in pass protection. Low mileage for a four-year college back.
Weaknesses: Not a home run hitter. Will get run down from behind. Only played a full season once, and he wasn’t the starter that year. Was suspended three games in 2013 after being investigated for an assault in a bar fight, but was never charged. Will have to manage weight closely at the next level.
Bears Outlook: Phil Emery said in March that he wants his backup running back to be able to block. That makes Carlos Hyde a fit. Hyde is a big, bruising back who would complement Matt Forte well, especially in short-yardage situations. He also possesses enough speed to perform well as the starter if needed and can be worked into the passing game (although he’ll likely never be as dangerous as Forte as a pass-catcher). Hyde will be 24 in September, but he’s NFL-ready and doesn’t have a ton of a mileage on his legs (only 523 total carries at Ohio State). His durability will be tested in the NFL with his running-style, but he won’t be asked to carry the ball a ton if he’s Forte’s backup. Hyde has the potential be the first running back taken in the draft. He’s not a fit for the Bears in the first round, but if he’s still there at No. 51, Hyde would be hard to pass up.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.