Not long after rumors emerged that he might be traded, the Cincinnati Bengals have instead released veteran running back Giovani Bernard.
Joe Mixon is obviously still the RB1 in this offense, but losing Bernard does leave a hole in the backfield. Gio was a solid passing down contributor behind Mixon, and he also stepped up as the lead back when injuries necessitated.
With the NFL Draft coming up, the Bengals will likely address the new need.
Here are the three most likely running backs for Cincinnati to draft.
1. Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis
Kenneth Gainwell could fall into the third or even fourth round after opting out of the 2020 season, putting him into the appropriate price range for Cincy. Gainwell showed out as a rusher as a redshirt freshman in 2019, tallying 1,459 yards on 231 carries, but it's his 51 receptions for 610 yards that make him an especially interesting fit. The ability to contribute as a receiver while also handling rushing volume when needed fits the mold perfectly.
2. Michael Carter, North Carolina
How about replacing Bernard with another UNC Tar Heel? Michael Carter didn't really break out until his senior season in 2020, but he's shown serious big-play ability through his entire collegiate career. His average of 6.6 yards per carry on 514 touches is already strong, and he upped that to 8.0 on 156 rush attempts in 2020. He also added a career best 267 receiving yards as a senior.
3. Demetric Felton, UCLA
Some teams may view Demetric Felton as a wide receiver prospect, but he handled some running back work at UCLA, and his skillset as a receiver could make him a very difficult matchup threat out of the backfield. At 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds he has the size to come out of the backfield, and in 2020 he handled 132 carries, rushing for 668 yards. His receiving production naturally took a hit with the move to RB, but as a junior in 2019 he caught 55 passes for 594 yards. That versatility is a big plus.
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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.