Carlos Hyde Is a Perfect Fit With the Cleveland Browns

In Cleveland, Hyde has the opportunity to take on a bell cow role behind an improving offense.

After pounding the table during the 2017 draft for Joe Williams, a fourth-round rookie running back from Utah, the San Francisco 49ers' coaches and front office made it known that Carlos Hyde's time was short in the Bay Area.

On Wednesday morning, word came out that Hyde would be signing a three-year deal, worth more than $15 million, to become the running back of the Cleveland Browns.

What does it all mean?


Hyde's 2016 and 2017 seasons were quite different in terms of his usage.

Carlos Hyde Attempts RuYards TD Receptions Targets RecYards TD
2016 217 988 6 27 33 163 3
2017 240 938 8 59 88 350 0

In 2016, Hyde's 49ers were coached by Chip Kelly, and 213 of Hyde's 217 carries came out of the shotgun formation. In 2017, Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers only ran the ball out of the shotgun 83 times total.

According to data over at SharpFootball, prior to 2017 Hyde was averaging 4.8 yards per carry out of shotgun compared with 3.1 yards per carry when the quarterback lines up under center.

In 2017, Hyde ran out of the shotgun 52 times for 280 rushing yards and a 3.7 yards per carry average. On plays starting under center, Hyde totaled 188 carries for 658 yards (4.9 yards per carry).

Through his career, Hyde has generated a 4.9 yards per carry average on 349 shotgun attempts (1,708 yards), compared to 3.3 yards per carry on 306 rushes from under center (1,021 yards).

Evan Silva went on to point out that 25% of Hyde's runs from shotgun went for first downs, and only 17% of runs from under center went for a first down.

Hyde's Advanced Analytics

Here at numberFire, we use an advanced metric called Net Expected Points (NEP), which relies on historical down-and-distance data to determine what is expected of a player on each individual play. NEP isn't a fantasy football metric, but it can be utilized to tell us whether or not a player is #GoodAtFootball.

In 2016, 19 running backs had more than 200 carries, and in 2017, 18 went over 200 carries. Rushing NEP can often be negative because rushing is not an efficient way to move the ball down the field and generate positive expected points. The league average Rushing NEP per carry in 2016 was -0.02, and in 2017, it was -0.05.

Carlos Hyde Rushing NEP Rushing NEP per Play Success Rate
2016 -2.95 -0.01 40.55%
2017 -15.84 -0.07 35.83%

In 2017, Hyde ranked 14th among 18 qualified running backs in Rushing NEP per carry while running primarily from under center. In 2016, running primarily out of shotgun, Hyde was a much more efficient runner, and his Rushing NEP per carry bested the league average.

Similarly, Hyde's 35.83% Success Rate in 2017 was well shy of the collective 42.37% from the other running backs on the 49ers' roster. Matt Breida, Kyle Juszczyk, and Raheem Mostert combined for a Rushing NEP per carry of -0.01, as well.

In 2016, when Hyde recorded a -0.01 Rushing NEP per carry and a Success Rate greater than 40.00%, other 49ers running backs put up marks of -0.22 and 34.85%.

If Hyde can run from the shotgun, he should be able to regain his rushing efficiency.

2018 Outlook

Going to the Browns and their new offensive coordinator, Todd Haley, has the potential to be big for Hyde.

In 2017, Haley ran the Pittsburgh Steelers' offense out of shotgun 71% of the time and ran the ball 24% of the time while in shotgun, the eighth-highest rate in the NFL. In 2016, Haley had the Steelers' offense in shotgun 66% of the time and ran it 24% of the time, 11th-most in the NFL.

Additionally, the Browns -- despite ranking 32nd in Adjusted Passing NEP per play in 2017 -- owned the 4th-most efficient rushing offense by our metrics. Even with the retirement of Hall of Famer Joe Thomas, the Browns should still field a solid offensive line.

The only potential wrench in the plan would be if the Browns draft Saquon Barkley, which would really hurt the value of both backs in fantasy. And there are still rumblings that they may also reach an extension with running back Duke Johnson.

Overall, with a dual threat at quarterback in Tyrod Taylor, an improvement in offensive line, and a game plan suited for him, Hyde is positioned for success in Cleveland, which could include a third-straight top-20 fantasy running back season with upside for a second-straight top-12 finish.