The Bengals should remain opportunistic if they plan on drafting their new running game. While there are possibilities that any of these backs could be the next big thing, there is no obvious Trent Richardson or Adrian Peterson in this crop. Hanging all their hopes on a single guy is the strategy that brought BJGE to theQueenCity, and thus far, hasn’t worked out so well. Perhaps over-simplifying, the Bengals really have two options this off-season:
1 – Draft your future starting running back at the best possible time in the Draft and retain The Law Firm… Green-Ellis is under contract for another year anyway. Let the rookie get his feet wet slowly, learn from a veteran, and if it takes a while, the Bengals aren’t any worse for wear.
2 – Fight in free agency for a top running back and find a project back later in the Draft. Little more involved with this course of action; first, the Bengals would have to pay for a Reggie Bush or a Vincent Jackson in order to lock him in before Draft Day. Second, the Bengals have four running backs on the roster now, not counting Dan Herron on the practice roster. Bernard Scott is the most unlikely name to return, but if a free agent is signed and a pick would be used on a back, who’s next to be cut: Cedric Peerman or Brian Leonard?
Despite its huge gamble, Bengals fans should keep their fingers crossed for Giovanni Bernard. An explosive kid, he’s averaging 7.4 yards a carry for the Tar Heels and has a touchdown in every game this season thus far. Even better, he has been a huge receiving threat, racking up 32 catches for 319 yards as of the beginning of this month. Keep in mind, this is a follow-up to his freshman year where he totaled 1,324 yards (5.24 per carry), 45 receptions (362 total passing yards) and 13 touchdowns. Snagging Bernard in the second round would be massive piece currently missing in the Bengals’ West Coast Offence. Attempting to get a free agent as well could become a combination of both 1 and 2, but to do some would be extremely costly both monetarily and in terms of overall effort. In the end, for a front office as nepotistically under-staffed as the Bengals, the juice may not be worth the squeeze.