Giovani Bernard NFL Draft Preview

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Published: April 17, 2013

Giovani Bernard Fantasy Football

Giovani Bernard NFL DraftGiovani Bernard has been a playmaker since his high school days at St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He was considered one of the top running backs in the state of Florida and top 15 in the United States. Initially Bernard committed to Notre Dame but decommitted with the departure of Charlie Weis. In his third practice as a Tarheel Bernard tore his ACL in his right knee and was medically red-shirted his freshman year. Between Giovani’s freshman and sophomore year the focus became shotgun formation and Giovani Bernard had to change his running style.

Bernard missed two games during the 2012 campaign due to soreness in his right knee. Bernard was able to finish the last 10 games of the season and finished 3rd in the nation in all purpose yards with an average of 198.1 yards per game.

The ability to run, catch, and return punts makes Bernard an asset in several facets of the game. He was also in the top 5 in yards per carry with a 6.7 YPC average for running backs with over 150 carries (Eddie Lacey was 6th with 6.5 YPC). Bernard is considered by many to be the top all around back in the 2013 NFL draft class.

Year Rush Att Rush TD Rec Yards TD Punt RET RET TD
2011 239 1253 13 45 362 1 0 0
2012 184 1228 12 47 490 5 263 2

Strengths

While watching Bernard the first thing I noticed was his vision. Bernard is very good at finding a crease and getting through it with a nice burst. Bernard’s vision also allows him to see the cutback lane with relative ease. His stature at 5’8″ and 200 lbs makes him a shifty back that can be difficult to see for defenders behind much larger lineman. Bernard has great hands for a running back catching over 45 passes in each season as a Tarheel. Can run really well between the tackles and catches screen passes with relative ease. Bernard also has a knack for falling forward for extra yardage on almost every play. His lateral movement is great with above average quickness and great speed for a running back. Bernard is also a quality pass protector which is essential in the NFL. His primary asset to a team will be his versatility. Teams will be able to use Bernard immediately in te return game and as a change of pace back. He has all the tools to be a solid three down back in the NFL.

Weaknesses

In pass protection Bernard often loses sight of tacklers because he is always going for the cut block rather than taking a guy head on. Does not do a great job of fair catching in the return game which resulted in two fumbles in 2012. He is a strong physical back but is more likely to beat defenders because he is elusive and tough to see. He has not ran a lot of pro style offense due to the change in offensive philosophy as a sophomore. Giovani Bernard has moments with mental lapses that result in dropped passes. He does not run with a lot of power especially on first contact.

Fantasy Impact

Bernard would be a nice change of pace back for a team that already has a solid power back in place. If called on I could see Bernard playing all three downs but most likely will be used in third down situations as a pass catcher and when the offense calls for a quicker running back. Bernard could be a great complementary back in his freshman season and a solid return specialist.

I see Giovani Bernard going to the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round of the NFL draft. He will most likely be the second back taken behind Lacey. In the Bengals offense Bernard would complement Benjarvus Green-Ellis really well. Bernard could be a great option as a change of pace back that can catch the ball on third down as well. His decent pass protection does not make him a liability in third down situations and his ability to run draw and screen makes him a great play in 2nd or 3rd and long situations.

Bernard will be a great second round pick up for a team. Hopefully we will see him in a situation where we can reap the fantasy rewards. Bernard could be an instant contributor on most teams in the NFL.

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Discussion1 Comment

  1. Although, I think LeVeon Bell will have more of a fantasy impact in 2013, Bernard could prove to have more impact longterm.. Great site and write up..

    Brady

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