The Cincinnati Bengals had their choice of any running back in the draft when they selected North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard in the second round in April.
The Bengals are hoping Bernard’s skills give them a more dynamic threat at the running back position than the bigger backs they’ve utilized for the past several seasons. However, the Bengals could be getting an additional benefit from Bernard than just his ability to carry the football.
According to the team’s official website, Bernard saw time at receiver during the Bengals’ offseason workouts and running backs coach Hue Jackson liked what he saw from the rookie.
“He’s so natural catching the ball. He can catch it like a receiver,” Jackson said. “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.”
BenJarvus Green-Ellis started 15 games for the Bengals last season and served as their workhorse back with 1,094 yards and six touchdowns. He still figures to factor in heavily for Cincinnati this season. Bernard could prove to be the versatile threat needed to give another dimension to the Bengals’ offense next season.