Career Recap: Teammate Shaun Prater had the bigger name and received more attention for the 2011 NFL Draft, but Hyde was the better prospect. He entered the starting lineup as a sophomore on the other side from Prater after serving as a backup during his freshman season in 2009. Hyde had an excellent debut with 82 tackles, four interceptions and seven passes broken up.
The junior started the first few games of the year at free safety before moving back to corner. He had 68 tackles, three interceptions and eight passes broken up last seaosn. Hyde had a huge game against Pittsburgh with two interceptions and 10 tackles. He also returned 13 punts for an average of 8.2 yards per return.
2012 Season Outlook:
Iowa is planning on Hyde being a team leader and key performer for its defense in 2012. Hyde should see a lot of assignments against the opposing team's top receivers now that Prater is in the NFL. Hyde and Prater played a lot of zone last year and didn't get assigned specific receivers. Since the Hawkeyes need to replace Prater, they may look Hyde to provide more one-on-one coverage.
Hyde is a well-developed cornerback who is a very steady player. He has received good coaching and preparation from the Iowa coaching staff. If Hyde stays healthy, he will enter the NFL as a three-year starter.
Hyde has excellent size and length for the next level. He uses those things to cover up receivers, and it is difficult for quarterbacks to get the ball around him. The senior is an ideal corner to defend against big receivers in the red zone.
The biggest coverage strength for Hyde is his zone ability. He has nice instincts and is intelligent. Hyde picks up and releases receivers well while covering a lot of ground. Offenses don't catch him out of position, and he is extremely reliable to defend his part of the field.
Hyde occasionally flashes ball skills. He has made some acrobatic interceptions and pass break-ups. Overall Hyde defends the ball well. It would really help his draft stock if he could improve his interception totals and show NFL teams the ability to be a threat to take the ball away.
Hyde is tremendous in run support. He is a good form tackler and shows no hesitation to take on backs. Hyde does a superb job of defending perimeter runs on his side of the field. He will immediately be a good run-defender for his NFL team's defense.
The big question marks regarding Hyde have to do with his man-coverage ability. Does he have the speed to turn and run with speed receivers down the field? Does he have the agility to flip his hips and run? Is he quick and agile enough to stay with receivers in and out of breaks? Those are mysteries regarding the senior entering the 2012 season.
Hyde definitely fits a zone scheme for the next level. Man-coverage defenses will need him to prove that ability. The Senior Bowl could be his best opportunity to do that if the Hawkeyes continue to put an emphasis on zone in their play calls. Hyde has already been notified that the Senior Bowl selection committee will be watching him closely this Fall to see if he earns an invite to the highly regarded All Star game.
Hyde's zone-coverage skills, intelligence, run defense and size make him a potential fit at free safety. Still, NFL teams love cornerbacks with Hyde's size and length. He should stay at corner, assuming the senior can show some man-coverage abilities this season. Defenses that run a variation of the Tampa 2 style system should love him.
2013 Draft Expectations:
Hyde enters the season with a second-day projection, in part because he has no apparent physical skills. If Hyde shows man-coverage ability and produces a nice interception total this season, that would really help his draft stock.