With the 53rd pick in Pride Of Detroit's 2013 NFL mock draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard. Northern Lite is serving as the Bengals' general manager, and his reasoning for the pick is below.
I love it when a plan comes together. Giovani Bernard was on my big board as a possible first-round pick for the Bengals. Finding him available with my second pick in the second round makes this selection a no-brainer. Gio is considered by some to be the best RB in the draft, and his skill set fits much better with the Law Firm (BenJarvus Green-Ellis) than someone like Eddie Lacy. Running back is probably the Bengals' biggest need and Gio is the fan favorite if they are to pick one up in the draft.
Gio reminds me of a Ray Rice/Doug Martin type of player (though not quite as fast as those two). At 5'8" and 202 lbs., Gio is a quick, stocky RB. He always seems to twist and fall forward with his thick base, and he has the balance to bounce off of potential tacklers. After tearing his ACL and sitting out in 2010, Gio came back strong. As North Carolina became more shotgun happy, he had to change up his game a bit, but he still managed to get over 1,000 yards rushing in multiple years. In his final year, Gio put up 1,228 yards rushing on 184 carries with 12 touchdowns. He was also able to grab 47 passes for 490 yards and 5 touchdowns, and he also returned 16 punts for 263 yards and 2 more TDs.
The Bengals have a serious need for more depth at RB, and getting a player of this caliber and at this point in the second is nearly a dream come true. Gio is a multipurpose back, able to do just about anything you need him to, which is good considering the RB by committee approach has been gaining popularity. Adding one player who you can use in multiple different schemes and packages really helps this kid's value. My primary concerns with Gio would be his previous ACL injury and the fact that he goes for cut blocks most of the time while blocking for pass protection. After watching tape of Gio, I found myself comparing him with the likes of an Emmitt Smith, or more currently, a Mark Ingram. He is a very solid back and has the quickness and strength to break big plays.
He will find plenty of roles to play with the Bengals, and we couldn't be more excited to get this guy with the 2B pick.
Quick look at all my picks and how they will help the team:
1st: Arthur Brown - Adds playmaking ability and solidifies the LB corps of a top-six defense from last year. (Less Rey Maualuga = good thing.)
2A: Menelik Watson - Provides needed depth and eventual replacement for the current O-line. (Bye bye, Andre Smith, don't let that door hit you on the way out.)
2B: Giovani Bernard - Fills most needed position while making the offense more multidimensional and adding some more playmaking ability.
Overall I think most of the players I picked up will be gone by the time the Bengals' actual picks come along. Bengals fans would be thrilled with this draft (I must admit I root for the Bengals because they have always been so terrible and look to be building something special) and the team would be a force to contend with not only in 2013, but many years in the future.
Check out the 2013 Pride Of Detroit Community Mock Draft tracker for a look at all of the picks.