Cincinnati Bengals running backs coach Hue Jackson has made it not secret that he’s very high on North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard. He believes his veratility and aabilities as a pass-catching threat out of the backfield make him a weapon that can make any offense better, and his catching ability may even lead them to lining Gio up at receiver at times.
Having evaluated him and watched every game he played this year and had a chance to work him out, and having spent a lot of time with him, he has that skill set where I think he could play and be an every down player.
Head coach Marvin Lewis echoed those sentiments:
It’s not always the yardage total that’s most important. When your back is carrying 25 times, it means that even though the yardage will vary, you’re controlling the ball, controlling the clock, and keeping your defense off the field. As it shows for us, that is very likely going to be a winning combination.
This past season, Bernard led North Carolina in scoring for the second year in a row, and averaged a ridiculous 198.1 all-purpose yards per game, which was third in the country. This helped Bernard become the first running back to be drafted this year, though he wasn’t selected by the Bengals until the second round, at pick #37.
Of all of the rookie RBs, none appear to be in as good of a position to make an immediate impact than Bernard.