Blogging The Boys will take a look at some of the NFL Draft prospects that will be in the 2018 NFL Draft class. Some weeks, we will look at potential targets that will be within the Cowboys’ expected draft range. Others, we will highlight some of the elite members of the class.
The 2018 NFL Combine is underway in Indianapolis at the home of the Colts. The top draft prospects from across the country get the opportunity to show off their skill-set and athletic ability in front of numerous scouts, GMs, and coaching staffs from all 32 NFL franchises.
Yesterday, we took a look at three draft prospects that could be a possibility for the Cowboys at pick 19. Washington Huskies’ defensive tackle Vita Vea and Boston College Eagles’ pass rusher Harold Landry are two defensive prospects that the Cowboys should have their eyes on. On the offensive side of the ball, Dallas appears to be at least somewhat interested in Georgia Bulldogs’ offensive guard Isaiah Wynn, even meeting with the offensive guard in Indy.
Wynn, 6-foot-2 and 313 pounds, is regarded as one of the draft’s two or three top guard prospects — along with Quinton Nelson from the Notre Dame Irish and Will Hernandez from UTEP. While he’s not on Nelson’s level, Wynn is a first-round quality prospect that should definitely be in the mix for the Cowboys’ first selection this April. The Georgia guard measured in with a 78 7/8” wingspan, 33 3/8” arms, and 8 4/8” hands at the combine.
While adding to the young defense is certainly an attractive route, the Cowboys are also committed to building an offense around quarterback Dak Prescott. Alabama Crimson Tide receiver Calvin Ridley is not expected to be available by the time Dallas comes on the clock; however, there is still a number of intriguing running backs and receivers that should catch the staff and front office’s eye in the middle of the draft.
Here is one intriguing prospect that is tearing it up at the combine.
Nyheim Hines — running back, N.C. State Wolfpack
Nyheim Hines was regarded as one of the elite running backs and one of the top-150 prospects coming out of high school in the 2015 class. Despite holding offers from the likes of the Clemson Tigers, Georgia Bulldogs, and Florida Gators, the North Carolina native opted to stay home and play for the Wolfpack. Immediately, Hines became an important element in coach Dave Doeren’s offense.
The speedy freshman lined up as both a running back and a wide receiver for N.C. State, as he accounted for over 200 yards rushing and receiving. Hines was predominantly utilized out wide during his freshman campaign in 2015, but he carried the rock from the backfield and on jet-sweeps 48 times for 253 yards and a score — good for an average ypc over five yards. Out wide, Hines grabbed 20 passes for 256 yards and a touchdown — averaging over 12 yards each time he caught a pass.
Overall, the freshman totaled 499 yards and two touchdowns from scrimmage in his first collegiate season, but he was just getting started for the Wolfpack. Hines became even more of a weapon during his second year on campus. The sophomore rushed the football just 13 times for 44 yards in 2016, but he hurt defenses as a wide receiver in a huge way — catching 43 passes for 525 yards. His versatility gave defensive coordinators headaches each and every Saturday.
The do-it-all back burst onto the scene in a big way, introducing himself to defenses, fans, and scouts all over the nation this past fall. Used as a wide receiver for much of his first two seasons on campus, Hines finally got the opportunity to show what he can do as a running back. Man, did he make it count. Hines carried the football 197 times for a career-high 1,112 yards and 12 touchdowns. He blossomed into a star at the running back position with his new opportunities, as he was named first team All-ACC for his big 2017 season. Defenses couldn’t stop him as a running back, and he still managed to catch 26 passes for over 150 yards.
For all of the success Hines had from scrimmage, the speedster also added an element of burning opponents as a kick returner. Hines returned 88 kickoffs during his collegiate career, totaling 2,171 yards (920 as Fr., 782 as So., and 469 as Jr.) and two scores. Hines returned punts as a junior too — returning 11 punts for 135 yards and a touchdown. Needless to say, Nyheim Hines is a threat to score from any point on the football field.
Overall, Nyheim Hines is one of the most dangerous and explosive players in this draft class. The 5-foot-9 speedy back can find the end zone as soon as he finds a small crease in the defense. Hines has the ability to turn a simple five-yard carry into an electric 20-yard gain. His ability to play out wide and help in the passing game adds yet another element to his game. Teams, such as the Cowboys for instance, are able to keep the electric playmaker on the field on third downs, utilizing his gifts as both a running back and a receiver. Hines unique and special ability to burn defenses as a ball carrier, receiver, and as a kick or punt returner makes him an ideal prospect on day two.
The N.C. State star is rated as the draft’s eighth best running back (2nd-to-3rd round projection) according to Dane Brugler, and Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller ranks him as the ninth best at his position. If the combine is any indication though, Hines may move up some spots. Hines showed off his speed in a huge way — clocking in a 4.39 40-yard dash, the fastest for any running back that ran in the 2018 NFL Combine.
He then improved - clocking in with a 4.38 on his second try!
Here were the reactions to the blazing 40’s:
4.39 unofficial from Nyheim Hines. Scat back type. Dude can move.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) March 2, 2018
Nyheim Hines running a 4.39. That’s faster than Tarik Cohen ran and much faster than Alvin Kamara last year.— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) March 2, 2018
Nyheim Hines, second run: 4.38s.— Patrik Walker (@VoiceOfTheStar) March 2, 2018
And good news, Cowboys fans: the speedy scat back talked with Jason Garrett and the Cowboys. He says it would be an “honor” to play alongside Ezekiel Elliott.
NC State RB Nyheim Hines had a meeting with the Cowboys last night. Had good talk with Jason Garrett, Gary Brown. “It would be an honor [to play with Ezekiel Elliott]. I watched him tear up everybody in college.”— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) March 1, 2018
“They were just trying to see how much I knew about football,” Hines said. “They were really just trying to see how I am as a person. I think it went well. I think I impressed them.”
How does Hines think he would fit playing alongside Ezekiel Elliott?
”It would be an honor,” he said. “I watched him tear up everybody in college. I’m a student of the game. I love watching Zeke. I love watching all of the other great running backs. It would be an honor just to learn from him.”
Perhaps the Cowboys are interested enough to make a move for the speedy back on day two, giving Dak and the offense a big time playmaker that can open up the playbook.
Nyheim Hines is a better route runner than Jaylen Samuels pic.twitter.com/XfwUkddXof— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) February 14, 2018
Nyheim Hines. Probably the most interesting of the small backs. pic.twitter.com/VMzzNU20a6— Jared Stanger (@JaredStanger) February 28, 2018
How fun and dynamic would a backfield consisting of Dak, Zeke, and Nyheim Hines be?
*Stats gathered from sports-reference.com, unless otherwise noted.
Catch up with our previous installments below!