The Cincinnati Bengals have several position battles to look forward to this preseason, and one was on full display as the team suited up for the first time. Cincinnati traveled to Tampa Bay, defeating the Bucs 19-14.
Projected starting running back Joe Mixon got just one carry, while projected backup running back Samaje Perine ran the ball just three times for five yards.
A couple of the players fighting for the spots behind Mixon and Perine were able to put their skills on display. One of the backs that got the load of the work was rookie Chris Evans, the Bengals' sixth-round pick from Michigan.
Evans was able to get 12 carries, and while he produced just 25 yards, he ran the ball well. Evans impressed and was also able to get the team’s lone touchdown due to his hard-nosed goal-line running.
While Evans could’ve played better, he made his case to be the team’s third-string running back. The position is set to be a battle between Evans and second-year back Trayveon Williams.
It was more than just his running that made his night a huge success. Evans was able to get out of the backfield a few times and catch the ball from the underwhelming Brandon Allen. He totaled 4 receptions for 33 yards. He was the Bengals’ second-best receiver.
His shiftiness with the ball in his hands off a reception is really where he showed his potential.
Evans was a terrific receiving back while at Michigan, and if he can prove that same ability at the NFL level, he might get some backup reps with traditional third-down back Giovani Bernard now in Tampa Bay.
He made a strong claim in his first showing, but he’ll have to keep that up to earn the spot.