Round 4: N. C. State RB Nyheim Hines – 5-8, 198 – 4.38 – Junior
Previous pick: Humboldt State OL Alex Cappa
After selecting Georgia running back Nick Chubb with its second-round pick, Tampa Bay begins Day 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft with the selection of another running back in Hines. The Bucs need to replace both starting running back Doug Martin, who was released, and third-down back Charles Sims, who wasn’t re-signed this offseason. Chubb is an upgrade over Martin, and the speedy Hines, who showcased his 4.38 speed in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Hines was the fastest running back in Indianapolis, as well as one of the fastest players in college football during his career. He’s thickly built despite being 5-foot-8, 197 pounds, and the fact that he’s a bit undersized could cause him to slide to the top of the fourth round where the Bucs would pounce on this change-of-pace to complement Chubb.
Hines split time with Jaylen Samuels at running back this year after biding his time behind starter Matt Dayes for the past two years. He spent his first two years with the Wolfpack returning kickoffs, scoring two 100-yard touchdowns, which set a new school record. No other N.C. State player had ever had two 100-yard plays in Wolfpack history.
What appeals to Tampa Bay, aside from the fact that Hines showed he could carry the workload in his lone season as the starting running back during his junior season, is his receiving ability. Hines caught 89 passes for 933 yards (10.5 avg.) with four touchdowns. Hines had six plays from scrimmage that traveled 40 yards or more, including two receptions that were more than 50 yards. Simply put, he’s faster than Sims and a better runner, too.
Hines’ N.C. State Career Rushing Stats
2017: 197 carries for 1,112 yards (5.6 avg.) with 12 TDs and a long of 83 yards
2016: 13 carries for 44 yards (3.4 avg.) with 0 TDs and a long of 14 yards
2015: 48 carries for 243 yards (5.1 avg.) with 1 TD and a long of 38 yards
Hines’ N.C. State Career Receiving Stats
2017: 26 catches for 152 yards (5.8 avg.) with 0 TDs and a long of 28 yards
2016: 43 catches for 525 yards (12.2 avg.) with 3 TDs and a long of 56 yards
2015: 20 catches for 256 yards (12.8 avg.) with 1 TD and a long of 58 yards
Hines’ N.C. State Career Kick Return Stats
2017: 21 returns for 469 yards (22.3 avg.) with 0 TDs and a long of 50 yards
2016: 32 returns for 782 yards (24.4 avg.) with 1 TD and a long of 100 yards
2015: 35 returns for 920 yards (26.3 avg.) with 1 TD and a long of 100 yards
Hines’ N.C. State Career Punt Return Stats
2017: 12 returns for 135 yards (11.3 avg.) with 1 TD and a long of 92 yards
Bucs general manager Jason Licht was at the N.C. State pro day not only to check out defensive end Bradley Chubb, but to also look at some of the other Wolfpack draft candidates, including Hines, who had a private workout with the team. Hines brings the pure speed and explosiveness that players such as Nick Chubb and Peyton Barber just don’t have.
Hines doesn’t have the frame to be a 200-carry running back in the NFL. But he’s a player that can fill Sims’ role in Dirk Koetter’s scheme as a pass-catching, change-of-pace back and bring more explosiveness to the offense. As a rookie, Hines’ kick return and punt return ability could help instantly upgrade Tampa Bay’s special teams, which has had one of the most stagnant return games in the league over the past two years.