NFL draft waiting game: 49ers running back Carlos Hyde happy to be in red and gold

Here’s a story I wrote for the Press Democrat’s Thursday sports section.

Carlos Hyde didn’t even watch.

He was the Big 10’s third-leading rusher in 2013, the most talented running back in last year’s draft, and he chose not to watch the first round of it.

“I just went out to dinner,” said the 49ers’ second-year running back Wednesday afternoon as he bounced a basketball inside the 49ers’ locker room. “I wasn’t expecting to go in Round 1.”

Reminder: No team has drafted a running back in Round 1 since 2012.

“If I had gone in Round 1,” Hyde said, “I would have been shocked. But I was expecting to go in Round 2.”

For Round 2, Hyde planned a draft party. He took his family and friends to watch the draft telecast at the Lucky Strike bowling alley in Miami, Fla.

Hyde is a serious bowler, although he’s no Jason Belmonte. Belmonte, the reigning USBC Masters Champ, bowls with two hands and spins the ball from the right gutter all the way back to the left. Hyde puts no spin on the ball when he bowls. “I just get the heaviest ball and roll it hard, see if that works,” he said.

Toward the end of the second round, this no-nonsense running back who also happens to be a no-nonsense bowler was sitting at his lane and waiting his turn to bowl.

“Then my phone went off,” he said, “408 area code. Santa Clara, California. I’m like, ‘Santa Clara?’ I didn’t even know where Santa Clara was. I had never been to California. I was like, ‘Maybe it’s somewhere near San Diego.’ ”

Reminder: People who aren’t from the West Coast don’t know what’s where in California. The entire state is Greater Los Angeles to them.

“I wasn’t thinking the 49ers,” said Hyde. “I thought, ‘They have plenty of running backs — they don’t need a new one.’ ”

Of course, Hyde was referring to Frank Gore and LaMichael James, two of the top running backs on the Niners’ depth chart last offseason. Both are no longer with the 49ers.

“I answered the phone,” said Hyde, “and someone said, ‘Hey, it’s the 49ers’ — that whole spiel. And then they announced my name on television.”

Was it a good feeling when he got picked, or was he frustrated he didn’t get picked in Round 1?

“It was a great feeling,” Hyde said. “I was so excited. I came to a great organization. I was happy the teams that passed up on me did pass up on me because I landed at a great spot.”

Does it matter to him that he wasn’t a first-round pick?

“No, it doesn’t matter at all to me,” he said. “But when I get my chance to showcase what I’ve got on the field, then they will realize, ‘Man, we definitely should have taken him in the first round. But we got a steal in the second.’ ”

Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for The Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at

  1. I think if you get picked in round 7 that is a major accomplishment. Less than 250 college players get drafted. There are well over a three thousand eligible players who enter the draft and the competition to be picked is fierce. Let’s face it over 20% of NFL rosters are players who were undrafted free agents…

  2. Reminder: People who aren’t from the West Coast don’t know what’s where in California. The entire state is Greater Los Angeles to them.

    Thanks for the insult.

    1. Yeah, Mid, but there’s this huge rivalry THING here between North and South of California. It is not completely realistic, and most in SoCal don’t know it exists, but none-the-less, NorCal seethes over water issues.
      So geography matters; Hatfields & McCoys.
      Geography matters.
      But I love Crab15 and ALL my SoCal 9ers bruddas!

        1. Ghost,

          The use of “Frisco” shouldn’t piss anyone off, and, speaking for myself, it doesn’t. What it does do is make the user sound like Yosemite Sam.

      1. i was in L.A a few months ago, getting ready to get on the freeway and head home. I stopped at a starbucks to get a coffee and use the bathroom. THEY WOULD NOT ALLOW ACCESS, PERIOD! Cant use our bathroom sir! Go piss outside.

        Thats the difference between nor-cal and socal. I’m pretty sure its a state law that you must have a public restroom if you sell food and drink

    2. It’s not an insult, it’s just reality. People not from here tend to think of palm trees, beaches, sunshine and girls in bikinis when they think of California. Sometimes earthquakes.
      What do outsiders think about Kansas? They tend to think it’s like the Wizard of Oz or the movie Twister. Tornados running around…..snacking on people on their way to the store or the mailbox. Lmao.
      You will crack yourself up if you focus on your initial thoughts of certain places. That being said, NorCal and SoCal are substantially different places. I’ve lived in the Bay Area my whole life and I love it. I could live in San Diego, which is beautiful, but I could never live in L.A. As fun as it is to get there, I never miss it when I leave.

      1. I get what you’re saying, but Grant still could have worded that better than he did. I have a general idea of where most of the major cities are in California even though I have never visited the state and don’t consider it as Greater Los Angeles. Los Angeles is Los Angeles. I have a strong feeling that I’d get my @$$ kicked if I referred to it as such around some Giants fans.

      2. I live in the hills west of Healdsburg, on the edge of the Cazadero watershed. In a normal rain year, my little hamlet gets over 70″ of rain. All packed into a 6-7 month wet season.

        While visiting NYC a woman on the subway insisted we get no rain where I live. None. She was clearly professional. A business commuter about 50 years old. She insisted I was mistaken, and that it was fog I was talking about. Being Californian, I had no idea what raindrops even were. She also insisted Healdsburg was in Napa county. It was hopeless.

  3. The 7 hour drive I have to make from Orange County to Sacramento and back twice a month, might as well be in another state!

  4. I for one am super stoked about Hyde bein our workhorse this year…i love the way he runs the football, just a no nonsense runner, he just gets the ball and explodes into the hole regardless if its there or not…it’s pretty awesome to watch if you ask me…cause even if the hole isn’t there he can usually create one with his explosive bludgeoning running style…the guy just runs so well for a 230 plus pound back…it’s rare to see that from guys his size, cause there usually just north south runners when Hyde also has the moves and the nimble feet of a 200 pound back

    1. Hyde needs to wait for the hole.

      The 2 best RBs in the NFL, Lynch and Peterson, share the trait of patience, which allowed the tortoise, Frank Gore, to succeed for so many years even after his juice was gone.

      If Hyde can learn to wait to see the hole opening, and then power through it with his style, the Niners could lead the NFL in rushing, if they want to.

  5. I knew squat about the Central Valley until I came here in 2000. Before that it was Frisco (get pissed see if I care) and Mendo. California is basically hollow. And agricultural. Unfortunately politics have let it go to hell so next stop is across the border into Oregon. It doesn’t rain much around Ashland and Jacksonville, the environment is beautiful and the folks are friendly. Never be as pretty as Mendocino County once was, but it’s better than what paradise lost has become.

    Oh yeah, the draft. Get a QB somewhere along the way. And a kicker.

    1. Ghost,

      The use of “Frisco” shouldn’t piss anyone off, and, speaking for myself, it doesn’t. What it does do is make the user sound like Yosemite Sam.

      1. Ah, but X-Gee, it does, especially the newcomers. I figure if it’s the bottom rocker on the 81 crew, I call it good.

  6. Good piece Grant. Nice change up.

    Can’t wait to see Hyde this year. Should be great one, I wouldn’t mind taking a OG early this year, especially with the whole Boone situation. We need our OL to have a great year.

      1. Why you drop the bowler reference? I think we’d all relate to That Guy who hammers the 15 pounder down the lane with all his gusto with or without the referenca obscura.

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