2013 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina

by Cory J. Bonini on February 25, 2013 @ 17:27:14 PDT

 


North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard offers pro teams an interesting blend of skills to consider in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina
Dynamic back with injury concerns

A two-year starter for the Tar Heels, Bernard has produced impressive statistics in this time. He rushed for 1,228 yards and 12 touchdowns in just 10 games last year, which followed up a 1,253-yard, 13-TD ground effort in 2011. Bernard averaged 6.7 yards per carry in 2012. If that kind of production wasn't enough, he has 92 receptions for 852 yards and six scores through the air in his two seasons.

Strengths

  • Compact, muscular build that makes him a stronger runner than his size suggests (5-foot-8, 202 pounds)
  • Great fit for a prototypical pro-style offense but experienced and productive in a spread system
  • Very elusive and shifty - well-balanced runner
  • Dynamic playmaker - a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball
  • Effective punt return man - two career touchdowns
  • Fantastic vision to find cutback lanes
  • Polished route runner
  • Natural hand catcher - a multi-tool threat
  • Three-down talent
  • Gives respectable effort as a blocker

Weaknesses

  • Lacks breakaway speed - 4.53 official 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine
  • Injury history and durability concerns - missed all of 2010 with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, two games in 2012 with lower-body as well as shoulder ailments, and parts of other games
  • Smallish frame makes him a borderline liability in pass protection
  • Questionable ball security

Expected draft placement

Bernard's style of play, stature and durability concerns remind us of former NFL star rusher Priest Holmes. It would be brazen to expect Bernard to have a long career as a full-time back, but he can become a beast for a stretch of his time in the NFL.

The first round could be calling Bernard's name in an ideal world, but he is more likely to come off the board in the second round. Teams that could consider him include the Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, New York Jets, San Diego Chargers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons.

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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