Carlos Hyde could be a viable RB2 or part
of RBBC nightmare if the Browns draft Saquon Barkley.
Carlos Hyde signed a three-year deal reportedly worth $15 million
to join the Cleveland Browns after four injury-riddled seasons with
San Francisco. The former second-round selection out of Ohio State
managed to play only one full 16-game slate with the 49ers, rushing
for 940 yards on 240 carries, with eight rushing touchdowns and
350 receiving yards.
Although Hyde never reached the 1000-yard plateau, and failed
to reach double-digit touchdowns in a season, his 4.17 yard per
carry average since 2014 (min 500 carries) places him a respectable
17th overall among running backs. Just .02 behind 2017 fantasy
MVP Todd Gurley and ahead of Doug Martin, Melvin Gordon, and Latavius Murray.
Hyde’s 11.1 fantasy points per game in 2017 was 14th among
running backs based on FFToday Standard Scoring, making him a
solid No.2 fantasy running back on a team that struggled offensively
before the mid-season acquisition of Jimmy Garoppolo.
It is unclear if a move east to join the Browns will be an upgrade
or a downgrade for Hyde based on the uncertainty surrounding the
Cleveland offense and the usage of Duke Johnson in the passing
game. Johnson finished fourth among running backs with 74 catches
for 693 yards and three touchdowns, and figures to once again
be a part of the passing game for head coach Hue Jackson.
There is also concern that Cleveland will also use one of their
two top four picks on Penn State star Saquon Barkley, arguably
the most talented college running back to enter the draft since
Adrian Peterson in 2007. The Browns did not invest a ton of money
in Hyde and drafting a possible once in a generation talent like
Barkley may be too tempting to pass up for new Browns GM John
Assuming that Hyde is the primary first and second down back,
with Johnson working as a change of pace and receiving option,
Hyde should be considered a viable mid-to-low range RB2 in 2018.
The likelihood of him garnering more than 240 carries is low,
but the probability of him acting as the goal line back on an
improved offense with new skill position players at quarterback
and wide receiver is almost a certainty. A rushing total of right
around 1000 yards and seven rushing touchdowns is well within
reach, with a reception total similar to what Isaiah Crowell earned
last season (30 for 182 yards) is not out of the question.
The addition of Tyrod Taylor as the stopgap quarterback for whomever
the Browns draft form this year’s QB class is an upgrade
over the trio of DeShone Kizer, Kevin Hogan, and Cody Kessler
that Jackson used last season. As the No.16 ranked QB in completion
percentage in 2017, Taylor was not the most accurate of passers,
and his 14 passing touchdowns placed him behind Jay Cutler and
Joe Flacco. But his legs are a viable weapon that Jackson will
exploit, which will open running lanes for Hyde of the read option
and inside traps.
The trio of Josh Gordon, Corey Coleman, and Jarvis Landry is
one of the more impressive groups in the NFL, giving Taylor more
than enough firepower in the passing game to move the ball via
the air and take pressure off the run game. Although he claims
that he is no longer able to play at a high level, the retirement
of future hall of fame left tackle Joe Thomas is a concern that
Dorsey will need to address in free agency or the draft.
If Dorsey does make the right move and draft Barkley, a three-headed
monster in Cleveland could reduce Hyde to a fringe flex play option.
It is also possible that Barkley impresses right out of the gate
and takes control of the starting job in camp similar to how Dalvin Cook secured the starting job for the Vikings last season, making
free agent acquisition Latavius Murray an afterthought until Cook
suffered a season-ending knee injury.