January 01, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers running back Rex Burkhead (22) celebrates after a touchdown against the Georgia Bulldogs during the first half of the Capital One Bowl at The Citrus Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
Rex Burkhead, Running back, Nebraska
Hometown: Plano, TX
Throughout Marvin Lewis’ tenure as head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals he has gambled on a few “bad seeds” which has painted the Bengals as thugs in the eyes of people outside of the Bengals community. From Chris Henry to Pacman Jones the jokes were, and remain to this day rampant.
In the sixth round of the 2013 NFL draft the Bengals took a player that completely contradicts those thoughts with Rex Burkhead, the 2012 winner of the Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion award for his contributions to the Team Jack Foundation.
Burkhead is fighting for a spot on the Bengals roster, and shown the team his value numerous times this preseason. Rex will likely make the squad as a special teams contributor and third on the Bengals running back depth chart behind BenJarvus Green-Ellis and second round draft pick Giovani Bernard. Many will want to look at him as a replacement for the departed Brian Leonard but Rex is a completely different type of weapon. At Nebraska Burkhead was a Slashing player who used his foot quickness as a tool to accumulate over 3,300 yards on 635 carries and also became a weapon catching the ball out of the backfield. He has had no problem showing many of those traits in this preseason.
It’s not unheard of for the player drafted after another player at the same position to overtake him at some point in the year. The same thing happened in St. Louis last season with Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead. It would be surprising at this point to see that happen, but if any injuries happen to the starting players, Burkhead could be in line for a lot of playing time.