San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke selected RB Carlos Hyde with the 57th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. After a big trade sequence which saw the 49ers pick up a future fourth round pick and fifth-round pick in this draft, many believe that Hyde will be the heir to Frank Gore, who enters his contract season.
Baalke said Hyde was the best talent remaining on the team's draft board and it was great value to select him in that spot.
"The bottom line is, [he[ was the best player available," Baalke said. "He was the best player on our board at the time we picked, and clearly the best player, so we made the pick.”
Hyde became the third running back taken in the 2014 NFL Draft behind Bishop Sankey (54th overall by Tennessee) and Jeremy Hill (55th overall by Cincinnati).
With Hyde's selection, the 49ers have now drafted a running back in each of the last six drafts. Baalke didn't see Hyde as a sign of no confidence in 2013 fourth-round pick Marcus Lattimore. He saw this as a move for more competition to make everyone better.
"It’s competition," Baalke said. "The great thing, these guys aren’t afraid to compete. It’s crowded, but at the same time it’s going to make every one of them step up and play to their capability. And that’s what you’re looking for.”
Hyde and Lattimore will compete with LaMichael James and Kendall Hunter for playing time behind Frank Gore. Baalke said he is more than just a power running back, saying he has great vision and fits the team's offense well.
In a conference call with the media, Hyde said he will be looking forward to facing other running backs in training camp. He expects nothing but the best when he steps on the football field.
"I embrace competition [and] I love competing," Hyde said. "I feel like competition brings out the best in me. So, I’m really looking forward to getting out there and competing right away. And might bring some to my game that I haven’t seen. So, I’m looking forward to getting out there and compete."