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

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.


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.


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.


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.