Packers Annual Checkup: Micah Hyde
FEB 26, 2014 9:30p ET
FOX Sports Wisconsin's Paul Imig gives an in-depth statistical analysis and film study of every Packers player in his annual offseason checkup. Check every weekday through mid-April for his latest report.
Micah Hyde, cornerback / special teams
Season stats: 17 games (448 snaps; 39.4 percent), 46 tackles, three missed tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, zero interceptions, two forced fumbles, three passes defensed, 15 stops (solo tackles that resulted in offensive failure); targeted 52 times in coverage, allowing 38 receptions for 460 yards, one touchdown
ProFootballFocus.com season rating: 3.2 (ranked No. 3 out of 26 Packers defensive players; ranked second among Packers cornerbacks)
Best game: Week 6 win vs. Baltimore (played 41 of 70 snaps; one sack, one forced fumble, seven tackles, one missed tackle, three stops; targeted three times in coverage, allowing one reception for one yard; 2.7 PFF rating)
Worst game: Week 1 loss at San Francisco (played 26 of 81 snaps; zero passes defensed, four tackles, one stop; targeted three times in coverage, allowing three receptions for 68 yards; minus-1.3 PFF rating)
Expectations at the start of the season: Low
Expectations were ... Exceeded
Looking live: When Micah Hyde was drafted in the fifth round by the Packers, not even he expected to contribute much beyond special teams duty as a rookie. But it was quickly apparent in training camp that he would be far more important than that. In fact, Hyde was recognized in the "Movin' On Up" category on Day 1 of the Training Camp Report series, even making a notable pass breakup in coverage against Randall Cobb. "If you had asked me who was the one player that jumped out to me today, I'd say it was Micah," coach Mike McCarthy said at the time. Hyde continued making plays, finishing out his first week with a strong practice, blanketing Cobb on a deep pass and following it up by ripping a pass out of the hands of James Jones. Injuries to multiple Packers cornerbacks gave Hyde a lot of opportunities to thrive, and he took full advantage. He mostly played in the slot early in training camp but soon took over one of the starting outside cornerback jobs after Hyde performed well in the first preseason game and Davon House struggled. Hyde made another appearance in the "Movin' On Up" category on Day 15 of the Training Camp Report series when he showed good athleticism and good hands to intercept a high pass. Hyde had been so impressive by that point of training camp that McCarthy said he was "tempted to put him on offense; I think he has that type of ball-skill ability." By Aug. 19, Hyde was taking some punt returns. His sure-handedness soon had him in the lead for that important role.
Upon further review: Hyde isn't fast. It's the one thing that he doesn't bring to the football field. But that's about all that he wasn't able to show as a rookie. When lined up with speedy slot receivers, Hyde was exposed on deep routes. Opposing offenses quickly figured this out and attempted to exploit it. That is part of what played into Hyde allowing the highest percentage of completions among Green Bay's cornerbacks. But as a tackler, there was no one better in the Packers' secondary than Hyde. Whether it was after completions or near the line of scrimmage to stop the run, Hyde was consistently able to wrap up ball carriers. Unfortunately for Hyde, despite his otherwise plus hands, the play he may be most remembered for in 2013 was a critical one that he didn't make. In the wild-card round playoff game against San Francisco, the 49ers had the ball with the game tied at 20 in the fourth quarter when Hyde had a chance to help win the game for Green Bay. Colin Kaepernick threw an out pass to Anquan Boldin that Hyde stepped in front of and leapt to try to make a huge interception. Hyde couldn't come down with it and San Francisco's drive continued, ultimately concluding with a walk-off, game-winning field goal. On special teams return duty, Hyde delivered where Jeremy Ross failed. Though Ross was far more explosive (and proved that the Packers likely gave up on him too soon when he was great later in the year for the Detroit Lions), Hyde was always sound with the ball and got the most out of what was often sub-standard blocking in front of him.
Overall 2013 grade: B-plus
Status for 2014: One-hundred percent chance of being on the Packers' active roster to begin the 2014 regular season. Green Bay has big plans for Hyde. McCarthy talked at the NFL Scouting Combine about finding a way to keep Hyde on the field for all three downs, including using him at safety. That is the perfect role for Hyde, one where he can move around and be used in situations that fit him best. The Packers want to get more versatile on defense, and while the majority of that talk has centered around the front seven, Hyde should be included in those discussions. Green Bay likely won't have the need to use him as an outside cornerback, but if he's floating between deep safety and playing near the line of scrimmage in the slot in nickel and dime packages, Hyde could once again make a major impact for the Packers' defense.
Next: Safety M.D. Jennings
Follow Paul Imig on Twitter