Dan Herron's Path To The Bengals 53-Man Roster Goes Through Special Teams

COLUMBUS OH - OCTOBER 23: Dan Herron #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes is facemasked by Logan Link #35 of the Purdue Boilermakers in the first half at Ohio Stadium on October 23 2010 in Columbus Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Despite the position being labeled as a need, the Cincinnati Bengals didn't (or weren't able to due to their board's dictation), select a running back until the sixth round, grabbing Dan "Boom" Herron out of The Ohio State University. As one of the players penalized for selling personal items to a local tattoo parlor that eventually ended Jim Tressel's career in Columbus, Herron missed the first six games (the sixth being overpaid during a summer job in Cleveland) during his final season with the Buckeyes. During his first three games back, propelling the Luke Fickell Buckeyes with wins against Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, Herron posted 415 yards rushing on 70 attempts for a 5.9 yard/rush average.

According to ESPN's Scout Inc service, Herron ranked as the 18th-best running back and the 217th-best overall prospect entering the 2012 NFL draft.

North-south runner that displays good determination. Fights for yards after contact and delivers the blow at the end of run. Protects and picks up feet well through traffic. Willing to step up and take on much bigger defenders in pass protection. Smaller hands raise (9 inches) concerns about ball security.

This follows a 2010-campaign where Herron set career marks in yards rushing (1,196), touchdowns (16) with a 5.3 yard/rush average.

Now we don't view Herron as being a threat for someone like Bernard Scott or Brian Leonard. Cedric Peerman is obviously on notice, but that position battle will take place on special teams during training camp.

That being said the Bengals have kept tabs on Herron with a level of interest that allowed the running back to believe he'd stay in his home state of Ohio.

"I knew they were interested because they came to my pro day workout," the 23-year-old Herron said. "I also met with them at the combine and at the Senior Bowl, so I knew they were interested. It was definitely in the back of my head that they might take me."

"I was definitely nervous and very anxious," Herron said. "It was a little long wait, but I think God has a plan for me. I'm just very happy to be a Bengal now."

Now I've made no bones about being a Buckeyes fan, so I'm more on board with this pick than others. And I definitely view Herron more favorably than last year's throw-away selection, Baylor's Jay Finley. I don't think Herron will add much (if any) contributions on offense in 2012. Yet with Bernard Scott and Brian Leonard entering the final season under contract, who can say what the future holds with Cincinnati's rushing offense.

This hardly suggests Herron makes the team in the first place. Unable to secure a spot on special teams would doom his chances of making the team's 53-man roster. And if he doesn't, the practice squad would likely become his home this year.

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