The Cincinnati Bengals have drafted North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard with the 37th-overall selection.
Nov, 26, 2011; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels running back Giovani Bernard (26) runs near the sideline as Duke Blue Devils cornerback Ross Cockrell (6) defends in the first quarter at Kenan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Giovani Bernard Jr.
Running back, North Carolina
**Tore ACL in 2010**
If the Bengals are going to get a running back in this year’s NFL Draft, the back I am most intrigued with is North Carolina’s Giovani Bernard. He would add a great feature to the Bengals offense that they haven’t had in awhile. Bernard is an elusive back who hits small holes with quickness and has speed. Not only that, but he can also make people miss in open fields. Bernard scored in every game he played in last season, whether it’d be rushing, receiving, or returning. He could not only help out in the running game, but he is also a great receiver out of the backfield.
He does good routes and displays good hands, he would be a great fit for the west coast offense Jay Gruden likes to run. If he were to be behind the Lawfirm in the depth chart, Bernard could also step into the return game on special teams and help out with his explosiveness, whether he return kicks or punts. Bernard would not only fill a need, but he could also become the best running back out of this class. His biggest knock is his injury history, but since he won’t be the full work horse on the offense his rookie season, he could contribute extremely well and help this offense out tremendously.
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"Bit of an injury history with Bernard, who came into Tar Heels camp in 2010 as one of the best backs in the entire country coming out of high school. Tore his ACL and was held out of the following Spring for precautionary reasons, but he came out in Fall practice of 2011 and earned a starting role, and never looked back. Bernard had a dominant RS Freshman season, where he ran for 1,253 yards and 13 touchdowns averaging over five yards per carry. He is also an exceptional receiver out of the backfield, and he caught 45 passes last year for 362 yards and a touchdown. Bernard has good speed to the edge and great quickness. His quick feet and agility in the open field allow him to make defenders miss. When he hits an open hole, he has excellent burst and is really shifty in the open field. Not really a tough inside runner and has a tendency to bounce plays to the outside instead of sticking to his assigned gap, but that is a result of his natural athletic ability simply training him to make something out of nothing. Has a lot of confidence in himself. Not a powerful back but makes quick decisions when he’s handed the ball. Threat to go the distance any time he touches the ball and had seven games last year when he went over 100 yards rushing. Pretty small back who appears at times to be easy to take down on initial contact. His elusiveness and ability to make players miss, as well as his uncanny ability to catch the ball out of the backfield give him the tools to be a future first round pick, be it in 2013 or 2014. Tons of talent, lots of speed and upside. Could turn into a LeSean McCoy type if he develops right."