There are three things that are constant truths in the NFL: the fans are never happy with the officiating, players see how much other players make and complain saying that they “deserve” the same compensation (subtle shot at Zeke) and lastly there are unsung heroes on the field that never seem to get recognition for their abilities.
Insert Nyheim Hines a young 22 year old running back out of North Carolina State University, he was drafted by the Colts early in the fourth round and has since became a transcending and underrated piece of the Indianapolis Colts offense.
Hines’ athletic prowess was to be desired by any team around the league. In the NFL combine Hines recorded a 40 yard dash time at swift 4.38 seconds that would earn him the title of the fastest back in his respective draft class.
With his 40 time placing him in the 99th percentile (40 yard dash) of all time as well as his overall speed score ranked at the 87th percentile (which includes all of speed and agility). Hines is no one trick pony as he is a pure athlete, speed kills but when you pair that with his elusiveness to slip through tackles, balance/strength through contact and as quick as a whip you get a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses.
Hines ability as a receiving back in the NFL is among elite company, with his sticky hands and ability to rack up YAC (Yards After Catch). In his rookie campaign he had 63 receptions, with only a slight drop rate of 3.7%.
That makes Hines a more consistent catcher than both Alvin Kamara who has a 3.8% drop rate and Saquon Barkley with 5.8%. Both Kamara and Barkley are considered as top 5 receiving backs in the league, so why doesn’t Hines get in that conversation?
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Both Kamara and Barkley are featured backs on their team, whilst Hines is currently is apart of a stable of backs on the Colts. Frank Reich is a strong believer in the system of running back by committee, which does limit the full potential (stats wise) of the individuals in the running back group.
Reich and Nick Sirianni are determined to stay with a creative offense and Hines abilities enables them to do just that. Hines has received praise from the coaching staff saying he is, “instrumental” to the offense and provides high football intelligence. In order to successfully create a running back by committee you must have a stable of backs to form one ‘perfect’ backfield.
An early down back to give you consistent positive yards, a passing down or receiving back primarily used for third downs or 2-minute drills, and lastly the one who is almost a change of pace runner to give some rest to the other backs.
Hines (as the receiving back) satisfies his role to perfection filling in the gap for his teammate Marlon Mack’s previous receiving woes who had a drop rate at 11.5%. Hines fits into the Colts offense with ease and has the potential to be something quite special.
Hines numbers/stats may not jump off the page or may even regress in his 2019 sophomore season, due to the additions in the wide receiver room with draft pick Parris Campbell and free agent Devin Funchess. However, his role/importance to the offense is evident and will not change come the 2019 season.
Hines has barely scratched the surface, and will continue to be one of the best kept secrets in the NFL. I say again there are three constant truths in the NFL: the fans will never happy with the officiating, players continue to demand for money even when they still have two more years under the contract they have signed (sorry, not sorry Zeke) and unsung heroes on the field like Hines himself continue to not get the recognition they deserve.
(Don’t worry Nyheim, I see you and I care)