Question Of The Day: Draft A Three-Down Back Or Complementary Guy?

Grant Halverson

We continue our Question of the Day series with a divisive question about the direction the Bengals should take with the running back position and the draft.

One could argue that the Bengals' biggest need this offseason is at the running back position. Two of the four backs on the 2012 final roster are set to hit free agency and some electricity is needed in the group. Because of how the position is valued today and the fact that they grabbed BenJarvus Green-Ellis in free agency last year, it looks quite probable that the team will invest a high pick at the position. We're just unsure what kind of back that they want.

The 2013 running back class is deep with talent and varies in the type of back that a team could covet. There are the workhorse types like Wisconsin's Montee Ball, Michigan State Le'Veon Bell, Alabama's Eddie Lacy, South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore (if healthy) and/or Arkansas' Knile Davis. These guys may not have the long speed, but they make the tough runs and will be difficult to get them off of the field on any of the three downs. If the Bengals take one of these guys, they'll likely be set for the next half-decade, but they already have a similar "power player" in Green-Ellis on the roster.

There is also a glut of smaller, "lightning-like", complementary guys that will contribute at the NFL level. Clemson's Andre Ellington, Oregon's Kenjon Barner, USC's Curtis McNeal, North Carolina's Giovani Bernard, UCLA's Johnathan Franklin, Florida's Mike Gillislee, Pitt's Ray Graham, and/or Utah State's Kerwynn Williams. These guys bring a bit more speed, some good receiving ability and a little wiggle to the position. Size, durability, and/or pass protection could be concerns with these guys and the ability of them being a three-down back could get called into question, though Franklin and Bernard seem to be the most promising in terms of becoming three-down backs. Though the skill sets of some of these players could be limited at the NFL level, the team needs some speed at the position.

In truth, any of these guys could bring a needed element to the running back position for the Bengals. It's just a matter of who they want. Green-Ellis is signed for another two years and is coming off of a productive 2012 campaign--particularly in the second half of the year. They'll have their choice of a quality player, but who?

So, if you had a say in who they take in the draft, would it be more of a "complementary guy" to Green-Ellis, or a "three-down player"?

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