The Eagles have added quality competition for the starting cornerback jobs but they will not go into the 2013 season with just the guys currently on the roster. As it has been mentioned several times, Chip Kelly appreciates competition. That is why adding quality depth and versatility to the unit is a key to a successful squad in the secondary.
Hyde is a tweener (cornerback/safety) who has been an important player for Iowa's secondary over the last four years. He served as depth in his true freshmen year but took over as a starter following the 2009 season. In 2012, the team used him at free safety and cornerback due to his thick frame and ability to lay wood on his opponents. At 6'0," he has the size that Kelly covets and at 199-pounds, he's light enough to handle playing cornerback.
Micah has average speed for a cornerback (4.54 forty-time) and middle of the line athleticism. He was awarded first-team All-Big Ten honors this past year (as a senior) after intercepting a pass, breaking up 14 others, forcing two fumbles and recovering three more. He previously was awarded All-Big Ten second-team honor in his junior year.
NFL.com praises his effectiveness in zone coverage saying he has "the closing speed and length to knock away passes or make the interception. Height, vertical, and strong hands allow him to snatch jump balls away and knock away throws between levels of the defense." The website also notes Hyde's ability to make impacts plays, stating that he "uses his length to keep receivers off his body in the run game and prevent ballcarriers from stiff arming him in space, also uses his hands and upper-body strength to rip off blocks. Aggressive run defender. Comes downhill in a hurry to chop down running backs. Wraps up receivers after the catch."
The NFL.com scouts have their criticisms of Hyde as well. The website mentions his tweener status as a weakness, claiming "teams might be split on his best NFL position. Average recovery speed at cornerback, must prove himself in man coverage as he will fail to stay with receivers downfield." They also point out his shortcomings in the mental and physical aspects of the game, saying he "loses track of receivers in space, gets caught looking into the backfield or stops running while looking for the ball down the sideline. Looks tight in the hips, will struggle to consistently turn and run."
CBS Sports unfortunately and bizarrely does not have a scouting report of any substance on Hyde and projects him as a 6th to 7th round pick. Kind of weird not to have a scouting report on a first-team All-Big Ten player, but I digress. NFL.com compares him to Carolina Panthers safety Sherrod Martin (who is a average-to-solid starting free safety).
Hyde is your classic tweener. He has the ability to cover but does not have the speed to really be an elite cornerback and it shows up on tape. His 2011 tape is much better than his 2012 in my opinion and I believe that has more to do with how Iowa used him during his senior year. He uses his hands well and loves to jam. He can play off in zone or at the LOS in press. His height and length allow for him to make plays on the ball but I would not claim he is a ballhawk in anyway. Hyde wraps up on tackle frequently but he is also a Sheldon Brown-esque hitter at the cornerback position. He is in on a majority of plays, both long range and in the box.
While he does use contact to his advantage, Hyde will have to adjust his form in the NFL. Too many times during games, he relied on sneaky holds that got by on college referees but will likely be called at the next level (just ask DRC). Hyde is big for a cornerback but tends to rely too much on his ability to hit and ignores using patience to wrap up opposing wide receivers. He does tend to get abused by speedy wide receivers in coverage and is likely a slot cornerback at the next level. I do believe he will be very good at covering tight ends. I do worry about his ability to make mental errors, but as I have stated before it is hard to know what coverage responsibilities he had.
Overall, I think Hyde would be a solid addition to the Eagles as a dime or nickel cornerback. Much like Purdue's Josh Johnson, he has a great background in special teams and is the type of hitter Eagles fans crave. He could carve out a role as a backup free safety if he adds a bit more weight (probably around 10 pounds, which will be easy). His tweener status may hurt him in the draft.
As I always say, do not just take my word for it, see for yourself:
Now that you know more about Hyde, would you want to add the former Hawkeye to the Eagles stable of cornerbacks as a late-round pick?