How will the running back snap counts shake out?
Joe Mixon’s contract restructure confirmed what many analysts expected. He will begin the season as the lead back. Outside of that, the departure of Samaje Perine leaves a hole in the running back snap counts from 2022. He accounted for 448 snaps last year, roughly 40%. So, who will step in and spell Mixon in 2023?
Well, preseason will be the ultimate test, but for now, the experience of Treyveon Williams puts him slightly ahead of fifth-round pick Chase Brown and former sixth-rounder Chris Evans. A lot will depend on how effective the trio are in both pass blocking and receiving.
Evans is certainly the most intriguing, even though he appears on the roster bubble. He has the potential to be a dynamic threat in the passing game but is yet to earn the trust of the Bengals staff. Heading into year 3, that is a worry.
Most likely, Williams gets a chance to backup Mixon early in the year while Chase Brown develops. Brown was a physical, slashing back at Illinois, and once he adjusts to the NFL, he projects as a potential starter. He could even reach that level by the back end of the year.