The Cincinnati Bengals have been pretty consistent when it comes to the NFL Draft under head coach Marvin Lewis, but one position they’ve consistently missed on is running back. Under Lewis, they’ve drafted five running backs, with the two highest draft picks being Chris Perry (first-round in 2004) and Kenny Irons (second-round in 2007), and neither one of them could ever get on the field. Irons tore his ACL during the preseason of his rookie year, and hasn’t played in an NFL game since.
Perry played in only 35 career games in four seasons and was out of the league by 2008 as he battled various injuries. Bernard Scott (sixth round, 2009) and Jay Finley (seventh round, 2011) are no longer on the roster, and Daniel Herron (sixth round, 2012) is facing a roster battle in 2013 after getting called up from the practice squad midway through the 2012 season.
In order to find a running back the Bengals drafted and turned into a quality NFL starter was when they nabbed Rudi Johnson in the 4th-round of the 2001 draft. The Auburn Tiger would go on to have a solid 8-year career as he made the 2004 Pro Bowl and broke the Bengals single-season rushing record (1,458) in 2005.
Other than that though, the Bengals haven’t been able to find even a quality backup since Marvin Lewis took over, but with a deep RB class featuring the likes of Giovanni Bernard, Joseph Randle, Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin, and Andre Ellington, this could finally be the year the Bengals are able to draft a quality back.