Carlos Hyde certainly would have had his first 1,000-yard rushing season in 2016 if an injury hadn’t sidelined him at the end of the season.
Over just 13 games, Hyde rushed for a career-high 988 yards and 4.6 yards per carry, his best mark in his three-year pro career. He also caught 27 passes, also a career high.
So, at just 26 years old, Hyde seems poised for a big year with the 49ers in Kyle Shanahan’s new offense.
Though Hyde has had trouble staying on the field because of health issues — he missed two games in 2014, nine in 2015 and three in 2016 — he’s shown himself to a physical running back with good breakaway ability.
As the 49ers prepare for training camp this week, at least one analyst — who knows a little something about running backs — believes Hyde could be primed for a big year in 2017.
Former Chargers star LaDainian Tomlinson, now an NFL.com analyst, projects Hyde for 1,300 rushing yards and 10 or more touchdowns.
“Hyde has slowly improved, production-wise, in the last three seasons,” said Tomlinson, who cited his numbers since his rookie season. “ … If he’s able to take care of his body and stay on the field he’s going to do wonders for a 49ers offense that has ranked 31st overall in each of the last two seasons. The talent is there for Hyde to have a huge year.”
Both Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, however, don’t want to see the same Hyde in 2016. They want to see an even better version.
“I don’t think he’s a finished product,” Shanahan told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch this spring. “I think there’s a lot more to his game and I look forward to us helping bring that out.”