Will Carlos Hyde Emerge as a Star this Season?


Patrick Willis has been one of the best defensive players in the league throughout his short career, and the surprise retirement will leave a void for the San Francisco 49ers. The intensity, leadership, and heart that Willis brought to this team will surely be missed. However, another loss hurts just as bad, if not more, as Willis’s.

Without a doubt, every fan of the Niners thought Frank Gore would stay with San Francisco for his entire career. It was truly shocking when he announced his new contract with another team. At first, Gore was going to sign a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. Then, he had a change of heart and decided to join the Indianapolis Colts with Andre Johnson.

You gotta hand it to the Colts for making such a big move. The running back position has been their greatest issue for the past few years, and Gore will bring stability and productivity to a definite Super Bowl contending team.

Unfortunately, Frank Gore’s departure created even more issues for the 49ers this offseason. Upon his leave, the Niners were left with an extremely young running backs corps. Initially, the two contenders for Gore’s starting spot were Carlos Hyde and Kendall Hunter. Hyde is coming off of a rookie campaign in which he showed flashes of star power, and Hunter spent all of last season injured.

Then, as a surprise to basically everyone, San Francisco signed the veteran running back, Reggie Bush. This is a guy with a career that has been interesting to say the least. Bush has always been a point of focus for the media, but he never developed into an every-down running back.

However, the 49ers definitely made a smart choice by singing Reggie Bush. They didn’t lock him into a long-term deal, so it’s obvious that the team simply wishes the use him as a short-term speed supplement.

Bush is an all-purpose type of player, and the 49ers will likely feature him in spread and passing situations. There is no way the Niners would ever give him around 20 carries a game. Reggie Bush is a seasoned veteran, and his effectiveness lies in how well the team comes up with a productive strategy for him.

Does the signing of Bush mean the 49ers will become a primarily passing team? Absolutely not.

If the 49ers learned anything from Frank Gore, it’s that a successful running attack is vital. Without it, the Niners will need to rely on Colin Kaepernick too much, and we all know what could potentially happen in that situation.

This is where Carlos Hyde comes into the picture. According to a recent article by Fox Sports, Hyde was the best running back selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. With all of the horrible offseason news for the team, Hyde’s potential is a great source of hope for 49ers’ fans.

In regards to Hyde, the article also quoted Todd McShay saying:

"“He’s got the size and power you look for. He hates getting tackled. He lowers his shoulder, he runs with a really good pad level, and he drives his legs to finish runs. In addition to all that, he’s got pretty good speed and catches the ball well. Most importantly, he can get on the field right away because he can block… Hyde’s skillset is similar to Arian Foster. Obviously size/power, but he also has lateral agility and body control to quickly get in and out of creases.”"

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If Carlos Hyde lives up the that analysis, he could certainly relieve the pain of Gore’s absence. Hyde didn’t get the most playing time during his rookie season, but his 333 rushing yards and four touchdowns could be a preview of higher output with increased carries.

Kendall Hunter is sure to be a productive support back, but Hyde is likely to be the team’s workhorse on offense. Also, don’t forget that Hyde hasn’t suffered severe injuries like Hunter. With healthy legs, Hyde could easily surpass 1,000 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns this season. If anyone can be an instant replacement for Gore, it’s Carlos Hyde.

Next: Colin Kaepernick Will Prove He Belongs