Chatter on Hyde and Browns just starting

January, 31, 2014
Jan 31
9:00
AM ET
The NFL draft is in May.

It’s not even February.

Keep that in mind. A lot can and will change between now and then when it comes the annual college selection process. But the name Carlos Hyde is a popular one in Ohio, and his draft status seems to have an arrow up.

There is a large segment of the Browns fan base that would love to see Hyde in Cleveland. It makes sense. He’s a big, powerful back who can run and catch the ball. Running backs are not in vogue these days, but 240-pound backs with ability should be.

[+] EnlargeCarlos Hyde
Jason Mowry/Icon SMICarlos Hyde rushed for 1,521 yards and 15 touchdowns during his final season at Ohio State.
What’s becoming evident is that if the Browns want to take Hyde they may have to do so in the first round. Too many rankings and ratings have him as a top-32 player, which makes him a first-round pick.

Scouts Inc. on ESPN Insider ranks Hyde 32 in the draft.

Mel Kiper has him 17th, also on ESPN Insider. In his first mock draft, Kiper had the Browns selecting Hyde with their second first-round choice.

CBSports does have Hyde 56th, but that seems to be a shrinking opinion.

Hyde’s stock is rising. Which could lead to all sorts of chatter about what the Browns should do with their second first-round pick, 26th overall.

Do they have the gumption to take a running back with the pick they acquired when they traded a first-round running back (Trent Richardson)? That would be some serious chutzpah.

But it might make sense. If the Browns decide not to take a quarterback with their first pick, they could load up the offense with Sammy Watkins first and Hyde second. Put them with Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron and the offense has some young, talented players.

Is it logical?

Hardly. The Browns seem to be one of the team’s that does not value running backs. After trading RIchardson, there was a lot of information put out that backs are not valued as high anymore. No running back was taken in the first round a year ago, and Browns left tackle Joe Thomas said he’d never take a running back in the first round again.

That position diminishes the position. Pittsburgh and Cincinnati are not going to give back their selections of Gio Bernard and Le’Veon Bell. Both are fine looking young backs.

The draft is a simple proposition that is made way more complicated than it need be: Will this player make this team better?

In the case of Hyde and the Browns the answer would be yes.

It’s just a matter of the Browns deciding where he should be drafted. One thing seems sure: Hyde's name will not disappear from Browns chatter for quite a while.

But again ... as a public service ... we remind you ... the draft is in May ... it’s not yet February.

Pat McManamon

ESPN Cleveland Browns reporter

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