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Hyde must show he can run fast at NFL Combine, expert says

[ 0 ] February 21, 2013 |

Former Iowa defensive back Micah Hyde is preparing to run the most important 40-yard dash of his life Tuesday while participating in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

He might want to pretend that he’s chasing down Northwestern running back Venric Mark while doing it.

Hyde raised a few eyebrows in late October when he caught the speedy Mark from behind on a 72-yard run that seemed destined to be a touchdown.

So even if Hyde fails to achieve his goal of running below 4.5 seconds in the 40, which is sort of the unwritten standard for NFL cornerbacks, his speed still has been well documented on tape, highlighted by him chasing down Mark from behind.

“It did open a lot of eyes,” Hyde’s agent Jack Bechta said of the play in which Hyde chased down Mark. “And as they go back and they start looking at more film, they’ll look at that.

“Even if he ran a 4.5 and change at the combine, they’ll look at film and say, ‘You know what, this guy plays fast. He plays faster than he runs a 40.’ Not all teams will think like that. But the teams that are really interested in him will do their homework and they’ll find that.”

Hyde doesn’t necessarily agree that so much importance should be placed on one race. He’s always considered himself to be fast on the football field while wearing pads and a helmet. He also has the tape of him running down Mark to prove it, along with numerous accolades, including being named the Big Ten’s top defensive back as a senior last season.

“I guess they can see my on-the-field speed and see what I’m capable of doing,” Hyde said of his play against Mark. “And even if my 40 time isn’t the fastest and isn’t what I expect it to be and what they expect to be, I’ve always said I’m fast on the field. If someone is running, it’s all about angles.

“To me, it has nothing do with the 40. It’s just all about angles and if you can get a proper angle on somebody and be able to make a tackle. But this is what they want to see, the 40-yard dash. That’s the big thing, especially as a corner, and I understand that. They’ve been doing it for years now. So I know I’ve got to run a fast time.”

Bechta is confident that Hyde will run well Tuesday. However, the circumstances will be different without Mark being there to chase down.

“No one knows, not even Micah knows if he can translate that and turn that into a 40,” Bechta said. “A 40 is a very mechanical race. It’s very technical. Some guys are built for it physically and mentally and some guys aren’t.

“But some guys anticipate when they’re on the football field. Their instincts make up for a lot of time. Micah is one of those kinds of guys. I think if he has a good day, he’ll run well.”

Predicting the draft

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Hyde is one of just two Iowa players invited to this year’s combine, the other being quarterback James Vandenberg. There is speculation Hyde will be the only player from Iowa selected in this year’s draft with the Hawkeyes coming off a 4-8 season.

That would stop a stretch of three consecutive NFL drafts in which six Iowa players were selected.

Hyde said he really isn’t concerned about what round he will be taken in the draft. The Fostoria, Ohio, native believes he helped his cause with his performance at the East-West Shrine game in January. Hyde also started his last 38 games at Iowa and twice made first-team all-Big Ten.

But predicting the draft is still close to impossible with so much discussion happening behind the scenes.

“To tell you the truth, I can’t read what other people are thinking,” Hyde said. “So the biggest thing for me is that I just have a goal to get drafted. A lot of people will tell you the third round or second round or seventh round. But no one really knows. All I’ve been through right now is the all-star game and I’ve talked with the scouts and I have my game film.”

Bechta thinks Hyde has enough talent and enough intangibles to justify taking him as high as the second or third round.

“Micah is the kind of guy where the intangibles are off the chart,” said Bechta, who currently represents nine former Iowa players in the NFL, including Kansas Chiefs tight end Tony Moeaki. “That’s actually what one scout told me just (Tuesday) in talking to him.

“Everybody is rooting for (Micah) to run well. Everybody wants him to run well at the combine. For cornerbacks, that’s just kind of the last piece of information they really need to make the decision where they want to rank guys. And then it goes a little bit deeper. Is he a guy who can play press (coverage)? Is he a guy who can zone or could he move to safety later in his career? The answer to all those questions is most likely yes based on the feedback I’m getting from scouts.”

Preparing for the combine

Hyde has prepared for the combine by training under the watchful eye of Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle. Hyde also has trained in San Diego with Brian Martin, CEO and founder of TEST SPORTS and the TEST Football Academy. Martin has helped to prepare more than 200 players for the NFL draft.

“I think this process is perfect for a guy like (Micah) because he presents extremely well, he’s intelligent and he can show everybody what kind of person he is,” Martin said. “They poke and prod them for three days, and it’s a good opportunity for somebody who may be a little under-rated to really climb the ladder to this league.”

Hyde will have some explaining to do at the combine with him twice being charged with misdemeanor offenses since October. He pleaded guilty to interference with official acts and not guilty to a public intoxication charge, both charges stemming from an October incident in which Hyde led police on a foot chase after leaving the scene following a dispute with operators of an Iowa City bar. Hyde also was charged with disorderly conduct in December after police responded to a loud party at an Iowa City apartment at 2:40 a.m.

“For him, it’s not a hill, it’s not a wall, it’s a small speed bump in the road that won’t be a problem at all,” Bechta said. “It really isn’t a concern. But he’ll have to explain his decision making. Why were you there and what happened?

Hyde called the two incidents flukes. He also thinks the good far outweighs the bad in his case. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz voiced his support for Hyde publicly after the October incident. Ferentz also didn’t suspend Hyde from any games last season.

“My coaches, they know I’m not that type of person,” Hyde said. “I mean well. I have good character.”

Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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