Allowing Cedric Benson to leave for free agency following 2011, forced Cincinnati into action. They needed a feature running back that could carry the football over 200 times while ideologically applying a two-back system with Bernard Scott. The Bengals signed former New England Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis on March 22, 2012 to a three-year deal worth $9 million with a $1.5 million signing bonus.
WHY HE RANKED HERE
Green-Ellis, who gained a career high 1,094 yards rushing in 2012, lead the NFL with 14 third-and-one conversions on 15 attempts. Houston Texans running back Arian Foster was second in the NFL with 13 conversions, but required 19 attempts to do it.
During a five-game stretch, Green-Ellis surpassed 100 yards rushing, which is an accomplishment that hasn't been seen in Cincinnati since Paul Robinson generated 100 yards rushing in five straight games during the team's inaugural season. Green-Ellis came into the season with four 100-yard performances for his entire career.
WHY HE SHOULDN'T
Despite coming to Cincinnati as a scoring machine with unbelievable ball security, he didn't carry those attributes to Cincinnati last year. After opening his career without a fumble in four seasons with the Patriots, Green-Ellis finally coughed up the football (against the Redskins) after 589 straight carries without a fumble. It was the longest streak to start a career since 1945 when player fumbles were first recorded. After four seasons of impressive security with the Patriots, Green-Ellis finished the season with three fumbles, two of them lost.
Green-Ellis scored 24 touchdowns in '10 and '11 combined. Unfortunately, during his first season with the Bengals, his touchdowns dropped to six while sporting an unimpressive 3.9 yard/rush average.
Green-Ellis may not reach the career-high 278 carries in 2013 with the addition of rookie running back Giovani Bernard. However, ideally, the situation vastly improves the overall running game, allowing Green-Ellis to play to his strengths in short-yardage and goalline situations.