5 running backs that may interest Bengals in 2022 NFL Draft

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Master Teague III (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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Cincinnati Bengals
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Connor Heyward, Michigan State

  • Height – 6’0″
  • Weight – 230lbs

A very familiar name is next on our potential running-back list. A perennial thorn in the Bengals side, Cam Heyward of the Steelers, is set to be joined in the NFL by younger brother Connor Heyward. Could the Bengals ensure the two brothers meet biannually?

Heyward has been a versatile chess piece for the Michigan State Spartans. Starting his career as a running back, he made a move to tight end in 2021. Knowledge of those roles, as well as a solid frame to provide blocking help, make Heyward an exciting prospect.

Think of him in the same ilk as former Bengal Ryan Hewitt. Drafting Heyward would give the Bengals a new wrinkle on offense. Although we know how tied Coach Taylor is to empty backfields and single back formations, the NFL is constantly adapting. We have seen multiple teams return to using fullbacks, and a player with Heyward’s production as runner and pass catcher will undoubtedly be of great interest.

Zander Horvath, Purdue

Zander Horvath had a difficult choice to make leaving high school — Remain a running back and walk-on at Purdue or switch to linebacker and walk-on at Indiana. Given his size, you couldn’t blame him for going defense, but Horvath believed he could carve out a role on offense and went to the Boilermakers.

He had his breakout season in the shortened 2020 campaign, leading Purdue in rushing. He surpassed 100 yards on three separate occasions. It’s easy to presume Horvath is a thumper who is difficult to stop, and while that is true, it is only half the story.

Turn on the tape, and you can see him hurdling down the sideline, pulling away from defenders, and even the odd spin move. Horvath is an accomplished athlete in his own right, and while short-yardage situations may be his bread and butter in the NFL, don’t be surprised to see him break loose too.

A problematic 2021 included a fractured fibula which he worked hard to come back from and compete in the final weeks of his college career. Although the stat sheet was average at best, he could be a draft steal if he returns to pre-injury form.

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These are just a few running backs Cincinnati could look to add in the 2022 NFL Draft.