The Bengals haven't had much success with drafting elusive, change-of-pace running backs recently. Chris Perry, a first-round pick in 2004, was out of the league by 2009. Hopes were high for sixth-round pick Bernard Scott, but he has been more of a tease than anything else. Now, the Bengals are looking to second-round rookie Giovani Bernard to turn the tide. Some day soon, Bernard might be the Bengals' full-time starter, but right now, they just need him to be the lighting to BenJarvus Green-Ellis ' thunder. That means using his skills in a number of different areas, including wide receiver.
"He's so natural catching the ball," Running backs coach Hue Jackson said of Bernard. "He can catch it like a receiver. I knew he could catch it really well, but I wouldn't be surprised if he could go out there and line up outside and catch balls like some other guys can because he has that skill set."
Bernard lined up out wide during OTAs, and it sounds like the Bengals will keep that in the game plan during training camp and the regular season. Bernard is unlikely to start right away, but he and BJG-E are usually drafted right next to each other. They sit side by side in FFToolbox's RB rankings. That's because Bernard is new and versatile and has drawn comparisons to Ray Rice. A big opportunity awaits him in his first season. Meanwhile, Green-Ellis excites absolutely no one, and the thought is Bernard will be getting the majority of the carries before long. An impressive training camp would go a long way toward accomplishing that goal. Bernard is a fine RB3 or RB4 who obviously has more value in a PPR league.