Height: 5’8” / Weight: 198 lbs / Age: 21
40 Yard Dash: 4.38 / Bench Reps: N/A / Vertical Jump: 35.5 / Broad Jump: 119 inches / 20 Yard Shuttle: 4.35 / 3 Cone Drill: 7.18
28 Games / 258 Attempts / 1400 Yards / 5.4 Yards Per Rush / 13 TDs / 89 Receptions / 933 Yards / 10.5 Yards Per Catch / 1 TD / 88 Kick Returns / 2171 Yards / 24.7 Average Return / 2 TDs / 12 Punt Returns / 135 Yards / 11.3 Average Return / 1 TD
Nyheim Hines brings something to this Colts offense that has been severely lacking in recent years; athleticism. To get a good feel for Hines as an athlete, his personal best time in the 100m as a track athlete is 10.34 seconds which would have been good enough for the Bronze medal in the event in the 1980 Olympics. Today that time is still near an Olympic time. On the field, that track ability is apparent. He effortlessly glides past defenders and has top notch cornering ability when getting to the edge. If he can develop more as a runner, which I will talk about later in this article, he has the potential to be a game breaker due to his insane athleticism.
Coaches in today’s NFL are always looking for players who can fill multiple roles. Hines not only offers ability as a runner but also versatility as a receiver and a return man. Hines actually played receiver his first two years at NC State where he averaged over 12 yards per catch. As a return man, he was a game changer averaging a return touchdown a year. With Marlon Mack and perhaps Jordan Wilkins in line to get the bulk of the carries, Frank Reich and the offensive staff certainly have many ways to get Hines the ball in his hands.
Home Run Ability
Now I know this point is fairly similar to the athleticism point but when is the last time that the Colts had a legit option at running back who could take it to the house on any given play? Because not a single guy comes to mind for me. Hines has game breaking ability and can outrun even the fastest defensive backs in football. From this past season, he tallied touchdown runs of 83 yards against Pittsburgh, 54 and 48 yards against North Carolina and 50 yards against Boston College. Regardless of how the Colts scheme the ball to Hines this year, he will always be a threat to opposing teams with his ability to take it to the house.
As I said earlier, Hines spent his first two seasons at NC State mostly as a receiver. As a result, he is still fairly raw in many of the nuanced aspects of the running back position. His vision is not poor but it is not at the level that you want your running back to be at. He needs to develop a better feel for reading his blockers where sometimes he is too patient which leads to missing holes and at other times he is overeager and doesn’t let his blocking fully develop. With more time and coaching at the running back position in the NFL, I fully expect him to clean up these issues and be much more consistent.
Its no secret that Hines was one of the smaller backs in this past draft class. His height measured in the 12th percentile while his wingspan and weight measured in the 13th percentile at the combine. While these might not mean much on paper, it could cause some concern on the field. His small hand size could lead to fumbles in the NFL. In college, Hines fumbled one in every 86.8 touches which is a below average rate according to Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com. His smaller stature could also lead to problems in pass protection which could limit his playing time on the field. Overall, there has to be some concern with Hines smaller size as a running back.
Pro Comparisons For Hines:
Nyheim Hines is a great pick for the Colts.— Vincent Frank (@VincentFrankNFL) April 28, 2018
Think Alvin Kamara-lite.
Mel Kiper on Nyheim Hines: A poor man's Darren Sproles.— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) April 28, 2018
Nyheim Hines is gonna be like Duke Johnson. He's a really good player.— Kyle Madson (@KyleAMadson) April 28, 2018
Overall I think Hines will be a very solid producer for this Colts team. He brings a rare blend of athleticism, versatility, and home run ability that Colts have not had in recent years. Even if he isn’t receiving a bulk of the running back snaps, he should still see quality playing time as a receiver and return man. Going forward, Hines will be a key piece in the running back committee featuring other rookie Jordan Wilkins and standout Marlon Mack.