In 2012, the Cincinnati Bengals struggles’ in the run game were evident. The rushing attack was non-existent at times, which put more pressure on quarterback Andy Dalton.
Running back Benjarvus Green-Ellis ran for 1,094 yards and six touchdowns. However, his low per-carry average spoke volumes about the Bengals rushing attack. Green-Ellis’ 3.9 average was tied for the lowest among running backs who rushed for over 1,000 yards with Shonn Greene. It became clear the Bengals needed to draft a running back who can add speed to the running game. Could former North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard be the speed they need?
Bernard has the speed and quickness that excites NFL teams. He averaged 6.7 yards per carry in 2012 and caught 47 passes out of the backfield. At 5’10, 205 pounds, he has drawn comparisons to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. The Bengals brought him in for a visit and went to dinner with him earlier this week. It would appear they like him and could target him on draft day.
The biggest knock on Bernard is his health. He missed the entire 2010 season with a torn ACL and was out two games in 2012 due to injury. He has shown the ability to play in the repaired knee, rushing for 2,481 yards and carrying the ball 423 times since the injury. Bernard could be available when the Bengals make their selection in the first round. It will be interesting to see if they elect to take a running back early or wait to select one later in the draft.