Bengals Sign North Carolina Running Back Giovani Bernard


Oct 6, 2012; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels running back Giovani Bernard (26) runs as Virginia Tech Hokies linebacker Alonzo Tweedy (28) defends. The Tar Heels defeated the Hokies 48-34 at Kenan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

8 of 10 draft picks are now signed, but no one in this class may have a greater impact in Year 1 than that of North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard.

Bernard’s greatest contributions will come as a pass-catcher out of the backfield  something the Bengals haven’t had since Chris Perry in 2005. Bernard finished his 2012 college football season with 47 receptions for 490 yards (10.4 ypc) and totaled five touchdowns.

Bengals backs combined for 43 catches for 257 yards (6 ypc) in 2012.

Bernard was recently a guest on NFL AM, and talked about his transition to the NFL, as well as what he foresees his role being with BenJarvus Green-Ellis as his backfield mate:

"I think it’s more so a complementary kind of thing. I think we are both going to help each other out. I definitely had a chance to talk to him, and he’s the leader of that pack, he’s the leader of the guys. I’m going to be following his footsteps, so I’m going to do whatever I can to help him. He’s going to help me."

Bernard also talked about the comparisons he’s drawn to Ray Rice and Doug Martin, two of the NFL’ top backs who have similar size and build:

"Those guys have the same stature as I do, they’re definitely shifty, they are definitely open-field type guys, but they can still run inside zones, outside zones or whatever, and catch the ball out of the backfield on a string. For me, it’s just going out there just being me, at the end of the day that is all I can do."

Here are some highlights of Bernard in action

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