Top-20 Bengals of 2013: No. 18 Giovani Bernard

USA TODAY Sports

We continue with our top-20 Bengals players of 2013 series with a great addition from the NFL draft. But is a rookie worthy of being a top-player? We think yes, but conservatively.

Giovani Bernard started 21 of 23 games at North Carolina, generating 2,481 yards rushing and 852 yards receiving with 31 combined touchdowns from scrimmage. Added another two touchdowns on punt returns. Generated 3,596 all-purpose yards, averaging 156.4 all-purpose yards/game and 6.8 yards/play. It's an impressive resume in college that Cincinnati hopes will translate into the NFL.

With a mediocre rushing offense, it's no surprise that the Bengals addressed their No. 37 overall selection with Bernard to help improve the team's stock.

WHY HE RANKED HERE

Completely based on potential and promise, Bernard offers the team a two-back solution that will team-up with BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Bengals running backs coach Hue Jackson is promoting Bernard as an every down back, perhaps even figuring to prominently replace Green-Ellis once his three-year contract expires after 2014.

A strong back that fights through hits and tackles to gain extra yards. Good balance and lateral moves is accentuated with quickness and speed. Has the tools to be an all-star running back as he develops into his NFL role.

WHY HE SHOULDN'T BE

Claims could be offered on two fronts. Being as he's a rookie, how can one accurately rank Giovani Bernard this year? On the other hand, he's probably better than many of those ranked after No. 10 and could easily be on a top-ten player by the end of the year. But our conservative estimates are based on his status as a rookie.

CONCLUSION

We love what Bernard brings to the Bengals, offering the team an explosiveness that Cincinnati has lacked. He's a threat from scrimmage and if called upon, can be a capable returner and a threat on special teams.

That being said, we're a little more conservative on our 2013 expectations with Bernard. He'll be a contributor and may even participate enough to balance out the total number of carries with BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Call it a fluid ranking.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Cincy Jungle

You must be a member of Cincy Jungle to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cincy Jungle. You should read them.

Join Cincy Jungle

You must be a member of Cincy Jungle to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cincy Jungle. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker