The Bengals have added some depth to their running back room prior to the draft with the signing of former Florida State running back Jacques Patrick.
Patrick spent four seasons at FSU before going undrafted in the 2019 NFL draft. He didn’t end up sticking to a roster as an undrafted free agent either, but he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Vipers in the XFL’s 2020 draft. He was the third leading rusher in the XFL with 254 yards rushing on 60 carries with two touchdowns.
Patrick’s career, prior to his stint in Tampa Bay, was a matter of never tapping the potential many saw in him. He was a four star recruit coming out of high school, and he looked promising playing behind Dalvin Cook his first two seasons with FSU. He had 748 rushing yards on 134 carries (5.6 yards per carry) his junior season as the lead back. He also caught 21 passes for 171 yards that same year. He decided not to enter the NFL draft early, which proved to be a costly mistake. He rushed for under 400 yards and barely got to over 100 receiving yards for the season behind a much worse offensive line.
Still, Patrick proved in the XFL that he has some promising traits. He isn’t some insane athlete, but he does just about everything well enough to get by in the NFL. He isn’t going to be moving piles, but he usually falls forward. He isn’t going to be worrying the back end of defenses with his speed, but he could break off a nice 20-yard carry here and there. He is just elusive enough that he never really seems to take a big hit either.
This is curious timing for this signing, though. News just broke recently that the Bengals are prepared for a Joe Mixon holdout if the two sides can’t reach a long term contract extension. Patrick certainly helps prepare for that with a group that also includes Giovani Bernard, Rodney Anderson and Trayveon Williams.
This move also doesn’t necessarily mean Cincinnati won’t take a running back late on Day 3 of the draft again this season. Although, it does help them shy away from it if someone they value isn’t there.
Patrick will have to earn his spot on the newly expanded 55 man roster, which may be more complicated than ever with the NFL having a virtual offseason. His best way to stick to this roster will be special teams. Even then, if Mixon doesn’t end up missing anytime, then there may not be room for Patrick come time for teams to cut down to the final rosters, especially if no other moves are made at the position. He is a very nice depth addition right before the draft, though.