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Breaking down the Bengals’ selection of Rodney Anderson in Round 6

The Bengals add one of Joe Mixon’s old teammates to their backfield.

UCLA v Oklahoma Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

The Bengals double dipped into the running back class by selecting Oklahoma rusher Rodney Anderson.

Anderson joins fellow rookie Trayveon Williams, longtime Bengals running back, Giovani Bernard, and fellow Sooner running back Joe Mixon in a now stacked Bengals backfield.

What Anderson brings to the Bengals

Power: Not the Kanye West kind. At 6’1” 219, Anderson has nearly identical proportions to Mixon. This compared to Bernard who is 5’9” 208 and Williams who is 5’9” 200. With Anderson, they now have another back who can run for power if Mixon is injured or in need of a need a breather. This prevents them from being predictable offensively like they were in the Jeremy Hill/Bernard days.

Big Plays: Anderson has a knack from breaking big plays. He scored 18 touchdowns on 205 touches in 2017 and is a threat to take it the distance at any time.

Multi-Talented Back: In addition to being a skilled rusher, Anderson has the ability to contribute in the pass game. Much like Mixon, he can be flexed out and used as a receiver or make plays on screen passes.

Why the Bengals picked Anderson

Value: Anderson had a great year in 2017 stepping in the footsteps of Mixon before him, but in 2018, an ACL injury ended his season just as it began. If he was healthy in 2018 and matched his 2017 numbers, he would have never made it this deep into the draft. The Bengals got a great value on a player who could have great value to the franchise.

Depth: Zac Taylor saw the struggles that Todd Gurley had as the long NFL season took its toll, so he went out and got a back who shares a lot of similarities with Mixon. Both can run for power, but they thrive due to their patience as zone rushers, and excel as receivers out of the backfield. This will allow the team to spell Mixon from time to time and not see a major drop off or have to change their scheme,

Scheme Change: Adding not one, but two running backs in the draft shows that they are valuing depth at the position in a way that they haven’t in the past. This may mean that they are evolving offensively, and we will be seeing multiple backs on the field at once with at least one of them lined up as a receiver. It makes sense because Mixon, Bernard, Williams, and Anderson are all skilled pass catchers.

This would be a big change from years past when they would feature two backs and buried Rex Burkhead deep on the depth chart where he had to wait for Bill Belichick to swoop in and revitalize his career. Hopefully, they will utilize the depth and talent that they now possess at the position,