INDIANAPOLIS – The best running back in this year's National Football League draft?
That's what former Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde wants to prove when he begins on-field drill work at the NFL combine.
After running for 1,408 yards and averaging a eye-popping 7.7 yards per rushing attempt in 2013, Hyde – who was suspended for the first three games of the year after being involved in an incident at a Columbus nightclub – is a man on a mission this weekend.
He wants to show the scouts, coaches and front office personnel who have assembled for the combine that he is worth whatever risk they might see in selecting him.
"I feel like I've grown up a lot (over the past two seasons at Ohio State)," Hyde said Friday. "Two or three years ago, my mind wasn't all in. I wasn't fully committed to the program. I feel like as I got older, I bought into the system.
"I feel like I came back stronger after (last fall's) suspension. It was my last year. I knew that I wasn't going to be able to come back and get those games back. My mindset going into those (remaining) games was 'this is it right here.' I pretty much gave it my all."
And that's exactly what he is planning on doing at the combine.
"I definitely feel like I'm the best running back in this draft," Hyde said with a grin. "I feel like my game does the talking. If you watch the film, you can see it for yourself."
While the affable running back is confident in his abilities, he shows few signs of being over confident either.
"It's what I bring to the table; I'm 5-11, 230 pounds. I'm probably one of the fastest running backs here," Hyde said, adding that he hopes to impress NFL teams with his speed and quickness.
Comparisons? How about San Francisco 49ers workhorse Frank Gore.
"When I think about my game, I think about guys like Frank Gore, (Seattle's) Marshawn Lynch. Those type of guys," he said.
"I like to watch those guys play. You see them running the ball out of the shotgun in the spread, sort of what I did at Ohio State. I just watched them and seen how they ran, how much success they had in those run plays. Kind of similar to what I did."
Hyde was asked how important it would be to be selected in the first round?
"It's big time right there, to get drafted in the first round," he said. "They're not taking running backs in the first round anymore like they used to. So to be selected in the first round would be huge."
Would he mind going to a team where he might have to share carries rather than being the primary guy?
"I wouldn't mind it at all. Those guys, they would have already been there. I'd just learn from them," Hyde said.
How about staying close to Columbus and having the chance to play for the Browns? Cleveland's running game struggled last season, so he would most likely be an upgrade.
"I think that I could help them with their running game. I had a chance to watch a couple of Browns games (last season). Being at Ohio State, you see their games all the time," he said.
"There were some games struggled running the ball. And to be successful in the league, you have to be able to run the ball. And I feel like I can definitely help with that."
This Road to the Draft segment is driven by Liberty Ford.