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Top-20 Bengals of 2013: No. 20 Cedric Peerman, RB and Special Teams

We're kicking off our annual top-20 players of 2013 with our No. 20 selection. Special teams ace and running back Cedric Peerman.

USA TODAY Sports

Despite Cedric Peerman taking part in only 98 snaps on offense in 2012, he lead the running back roster with a 5.2 yard/rush average and that's without including gains on two fake punts. Add his 48-yard direct-snap fake punts against the Jaguars and a 32-yarder against the Chiefs, and that average balloons to 7.2 yards.

WHY HE'S RANKED HERE

The fourth-year running back signed a two-year extension prior to free agency, mostly as an effort to retain his special teams play. Special teams is the forgotten beast of football and because of that, many people ignore tend to ignore that Cincinnati had one of the best overall units in the NFL. Along with his massive runs and excellent coverages, Peerman ranked fourth on the team in special teams tackles.

Even on offense, Peerman scored the highest team grade at running back according to Pro Football Focus, which included a 31-yard sprint against the Oakland Raiders that set up a touchdown and eventual 21-0 lead.

WHY HE SHOULDN'T BE

Unless a player returns or kicks the football, judging a player based on special teams play is tricky. Coverages, blocking, and tackling are critical indicators that apply to weighted perspective. There are probably players we could rank at No. 20 that didn't make our list, which in of itself is short on special teams players.

CONCLUSION

This was a difficult one because Peerman isn't so much a critical role player on offense. And if a player isn't a critical contributor on offense or defense, then who cares. Instead he's part of the collective special teams unit that's viewed favorably across the board with an impact that significantly helps the offense as a result.