Giovani Bernard and History of First Running backs Drafted

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May 10, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals second round draft pick running back Giovani Bernard runs the ball during the Bengals rookie minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

When looking at how productive Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Beranrd will be in his rookie season, a good starting point would be to look back at the history of rookie RBs and how they performed in their debut NFL seasons. The RB position is typically the easiest position to transition from the college level to the NFL, and Bernard’s dynamic skill–set should allow him to have a very productive year.

Since he was the first back selected in this year’s NFL Draft, we did an analysis of every RB who was the first back drafted in the past 12 years to get a better idea of what to expect from Bernard this year:

Jamal Lewis– Fifth Overall Pick of the 2000 NFL Draft-In his rookie season in the NFL, he started 13 games and rushed for 1,364 yards and six rushing touchdowns.

LaDainian Tomlinson– Fifth Overall Pick of the 2001 NFL Draft-Started 16 games and rushed 339 times for 1236 yards with 10 TD to go with 59 catches for 367 yards.

William Green– 16th Overall Pick of the 2002 NFL Draft- Played in all 16 games with 10 starts and 243 rushes for 887 yards and 6 TDs.

Willis McGahee– 23rd Overall Pick of the 2003 NFL Draft-didn’t play rookie year due to knee injury suffered in college.

Steven Jackson– 24th Overall Pick of the 2004 NFL Draft-14 games (3 starts) and 134 rushes for 673 yards and 4 TDs plus 19 catches for 189 yards.

Ronnie Brown– 2nd Overall Pick of the 2005 NFL Draft-ran for 907 and 4 TDs on 207 attempts  yards his rookie campaign in 16 games.

Reggie Bush– 2nd Overall Pick of the 2006 NFL Draft-155 carries for 565 yards and 88 catches for 742 yards and 8 total TDs.

Adrian Peterson– 7th Overall Pick of the 2007 NFL Draft-In 14 games with 9 starts, rushed 238 times for 1,341 yards (5.6) and 12 TDs to go with 19 catches for 268 yards.

Darren McFadden– 4th Overall Pick of the 2008 NFL Draft-13 games (5 starts) with 113 rushes for 499 yards & 29 catches for 285 yards.

Knowshon Moreno– 12th Overall Pick of the 2009 NFL Draft- In 16 games (9 starts), rushed 247 times for 947 yards and 7 TDs along with 28 rec. for 213 yards.

C.J. Spiller– 9th Overall Pick of the 2010 NFL Draft- Played in 14 games with 1 start and 74 rushes for 283 yards to go with 24 rec. for 157 yards. Had just 1 TD from scrimmage all year.

*Mark Ingram– 28th Overall Pick of the 2011 NFL Draft- 10 games (4 starts) with 122 rushes for 474 yards and 5 TDs.

Trent Richardson-15 starts with 267 rushes for 950 yards and 11 TDs to go with 51 catches for 367 yards receiving.

*Since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, this was the latest pick used for the first running back chosen in an NFL draft until this past season when no RB was drafted in the first-round.