Bengals Day 3 draft picks will battle for playing time in 2021

MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 30: (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 30: (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /
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Chris Evans vs Samaje Perine

If you needed any more convincing that the running game starts and ends with Joe Mixon, this was it.

The Bengals didn’t find a replacement to the versatile and experienced Giovanni Bernard until the sixth round of the draft. The expectation is that Mixon, now one of the best-paid backs in the league, will be ridden hard as a three-down back. The Bengals saw enough late in the year from Samaje Perine to make the move away from Bernard.

Perine came up just short of 100 yards vs the Texans and scored two touchdowns. The special teams presence of Perine means he is a good, cheap backup to a workhorse back like Mixon.

Michigan’s Chris Evans will be a late-round dart throw. Evans was a bit-part player for the Wolverines but could be somewhat of a hidden gem. Having missed the 2019 season due to academic issues, Evans was underutilized by Harbaugh in 2020.

Stuck behind the exciting Hassan Haskins, Evans only got 16 carries and nine receptions. His first two years in college suggest there is some upside to develop. As a freshman, Evans averaged seven yards per carry and started out as a slot receiver.

That shows Evans has versatility and gives the offense a different option to the more physical Perine. Between the two, the hope is that stalwart Bernard won’t be too heavily missed.