DraftBrowns.com Staff Writer: Justin Higdon
The 2013 NFL Draft may not include any running backs prospects on the level of Trent Richardson a year ago; but when North Carolina Tarheels running back Giovani Bernard made himself eligible, the current class gained a legitimate every-down back who should become an NFL starter right off the bat.
Giovani Bernard* North Carolina RB 5’10 205
Just a redshirt sophomore, Bernard runs with quick feet and short, choppy steps, but there is no wasted effort. He has an excellent pad level, is always falling forward and takes great care to avoid negative plays.
Bernard is able to pick his way through traffic, gets going north and south very quickly and is a strong finisher. He has a powerful lower body, good stop and start ability and can get up to full speed very quickly. Bernard does well to set up screen plays and swing passes, and turn up field immediately. He doesn’t appear overly fast, but like Ball he has plenty of speed to be effective and good moves in the open field.
Bernard’s a willing pass protector, definitely not timid, but like all young backs he’ll need polish in this area. While his stats are eye opening on punt returns, he isn’t likely to continue these duties at the NFL level where he will appeal to teams as a potential every-down runner.
Virginia Tech (’12)
- Used on a punt return man
- Always falling forward – good effort not to take negative plays.
- Sets up well on screen passes.
- He shows quick feet on a punt return.
- Quick feet and choppy steps but no wasted effort.
- Breaks a long TD run on a short yardage play – no VT defenders after he got past the first level.
- Muffs a punt recovered by VT.
- Really good moves in the open field – can cut on a dime.
- Doesn’t appear to have breakaway 4.4 speed – closer to 4.6.
- Keeps his feet pumping and falls forward again to avoid a negative play.
- Shows some good power in his legs and runs thru some arm tackles
- Slips out of the backfield on a screen, gets going north/south quickly, picks his way thru the open field.
- Good speed with short, choppy steps.
- Good stiff arm.
- Doesn’t look overly fast.
- Stays low, runs with a good pad level and is a willing finisher.
- Likes to use a spin move in traffic – not a great idea, leaves him vulnerable to fumbles.
- Willing to block in pass pro but doesn’t appear polished.
- Similar style to Doug Martin
- Hustling and following the play down the field, recovers a fumble for a TD
NC State (’12)
- Really shows some nice vision – picks his way thru the hole.
- Wonder about his straight-line speed.
- Loses his balance on the sideline and doesn’t walk the tight rope.
- Can handle the swing pass out of the backfield.
- Good leg drive.
- Low center of gravity.
- Turns the corner and looks fast enough.
- Nice stop/start – gets back up to full speed quickly.
- Not easy to bring down.
- Appears strong in the lower body.
- Solid/willing in pass pro, definitely not timid.
- Blocks head on and cut block.
- Breaks a punt return TD but only has to beat one guy – not sure PR will be his role in the NFL