Nyheim Hines is a raw talent at the running back position with a very high ceiling due to his excellent athletic profile and could be a solid pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The most obvious asset that Nyheim Hines brings to the table is his absurd speed. He ran a 4.38 40 yard dash time at the combine, and the speed definitely shows up on tape. When he gets to the corner, he is tough to catch. His speed makes it hard to get good pursuit angles on the outside, especially when Hines decides to put on the burners. Hines doesn’t just win with speed, but also his ability to get to that speed in a hurry. He has a strong initial burst that helps him get to and through the line of scrimmage when he makes the proper read.
Nyheim Hines can be elsuive in the open field, and shows very good lateral agility around the line of scrimmage. He uses his quick lateral movements to get up field when running outside zone plays and frequently shows off his change of direction ability when plays break down and he has to get creative. When he is assertive with his running, he does very well to change directions without losing too much forward momentum. Something that I’ve seen some of the speedier backs struggle with in this class is their ability to change direction, make cuts, and elude defenders in open field or with a full head of steam. Nyheim Hines has shown that he is very capable in this area.
Nyheim Hines tends to be too tentative in the open field, and doesn’t always attack up field aggressively, even in space. He often gets caught dawdling in space rather than utilizing his speed and lateral agility to pick up yards and beat defenders. He needs to be more assertive when running in the open field to make the most of his physical gifts.
Nyheim Hines doesn’t run with particularly good power or leg drive. He is undersized and, unlike some of the other undersized backs in this class, Hines doesn’t make up for it with excellent leg drive and tenacity. He doesn’t offer much in the way of moving piles or fighting through arm tackles, and has to rely mostly on his speed and agility to pick up yards.
Hines can be an immediate asset in the receiving game. He catches the ball well and his speed and quickness help him create good separation from defenders. His route running still needs work, but his athletic profile certainly suggests that this is something that he can improve upon with proper coaching.
The main knock that I have on Nyheim Hines is that he has below average vision. He struggles to pick the correct running lanes, is late to recognize holes and doesn’t show much in the way of anticipating openings in the defense. Nyheim Hines ends up meandering into the back of his lineman far too often, and can get ahead of his blockers on outside zone plays. He needs to significantly improve his vision, feel for the flow of a play, and anticipation if he is going to be a successful back at the NFL level.