Cincinnati Bengals Meeting With Backup Running Back Choices

By Simon Greene
Ed Szczeoanski – USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals currently have some pretty large cap space, standing at around $44 million. It’s the largest in the league, so they can afford to bring in some new blood in the backfield. Beanie Wells visited the Bengals yesterday, a possible move I really hope doesn’t happen. Although I know that he would be in the lineup to compliment BenJarvus Green-Ellis in a reduced role, the poor performance that Wells has displayed over his career so far shows clearly that he is not right for the Bengals.

Wells was a first round pick by the Arizona Cardinals in 2009, and in his four year career he has only managed to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark once. The Cardinals then decided to draft Ryan Williams in the second round of the 2011 draft with the 38th overall pick. Williams would eventually get his start in 2012 after being injured for the entire 2011 season, but was injured again in week five, and was out for the remainder of the season.

After that, Wells took back the starting spot for seven of the remaining games, gaining an average of only 2.7 yards per carry, before eventually being dropped again for LaRod Stephens-Howling. Wells’ poor performance is even more evident when we hear rumors Stephens-Howling is also being cut this off-season.

Today however, the Bengals will receive a visit from the former Oakland Raiders and Carolina Panthers running back, Mike Goodson, who was taken in the 4th round of the same draft as Wells, but has always played a back-up role. In Carolina, he was played as a 3rd down back in rotation with Jonathan Stewart, with both of them backing up DeAngelo Williams. Goodson was also the Panthers’ kick returner.

Mike Goodson was then traded in 2012 to the Raiders for tackle Bruce Campbell. Here it was the intention that he would play a backup role to Darren McFadden. But Goodson’s role with the Raiders increased, as McFadden seemed to be injured with greater frequency each season. In the 2012 season, Goodson rushed for 221 yards on 35 rushes and caught 16 passes for a further 195 yards.

Bringing Goodson in to compliment Green-Ellis would be the safer choice, in my opinion. Although Wells has been a starter in the past, his 2.7-yards per carry average is too low for a legitimate running back. Having said that, with a greater offensive line like the one that the Bengals have and a change of scenery, it’s quite likely that Wells could be back to his 1,000-yard former self.

Goodson however, may be a career backup but his yards per carry average last season was 6.3. In 2010–the last time he had an increased role–it was  4.4, which are back-up worthy numbers. The Bengals already have a starting running back in Green-Ellis and therefore do not have a great need for a running back like Wells. Goodson would also come at a significantly cheaper price, so Goodson in my opinion is the obvious choice.

Since NFL teams listen what the writers tell them to do in these multimillion dollar situations, when they come and ask me for advice (and they will) I will recommend that they walk away from both of them and draft a RB in the second round. Eddie Lacy from Alabama seems like a good option and could I could see him as the starter with Green-Ellis as the back-up in week one. Failing that, Giovanni Bernard from North Carolina would be a safe compliment for Green-Ellis.

Be sure to follow Simon Greene on Twitter @simongreene88

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