Before you see our analysis of the running backs, make sure you catch our recent post on the top 3 choices for Cincinnati at defensive end. Check it out here!
There’s more buzz surrounding the running backs than any other position in the 2017 NFL Draft. The number of quality guys is so impressive, it’s like reading the name of a law firm with an irritatingly long list of partners. The Cincinnati Bengals could use some of those fresh legs in the backfield to take pressure off QB Andy Dalton.
Cedric Peerman sustained an arm injury in the preseason that basically wiped out his 2016. Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard led a rushing attack that averaged 4.0 yards per carry, good (or bad) for 23rd in the league. Now’s the time for the Bengals to cash in and get a franchise-caliber RB.
TOP RUNNING BACKS FOR THE CINCINNATI BENGALS
1. Leonard Fournette – Fournette came to LSU with ridiculous expectations and did not disappoint. His junior campaign was limited by an ankle injury, but Fournette showed as a sophomore what he can do when healthy. In 2015, he rushed for 1,953 yards, scored 22 TDs (in the SEC, mind you), and was a unanimous All-American. It’s tough to catch the 4.51 speedster. It’s even tougher to bring him down. He weighs 240 pounds, plays with low pads, and has little fear of defensive backs.
2. Dalvin Cook – Florida State couldn’t get enough of Cook’s performance over the last few years. Cook put up three straight 1,000-yard seasons for the Seminoles. He finished off his college career by rushing for 1,765 yards and 19 touchdowns. This two-time All-American used his sub-4.5 speed to earn Orange Bowl MVP honors (207 total yards) in a 33-32 win over Michigan. He tends to fumble too much, though (13 career cough-ups) and has had some run-ins with the law. That could make him a distraction in the locker room.
3. Joe Mixon – This Oklahoma back caught the eyes of college football fans everywhere when he gained 1,812 yards from scrimmage in 2016. He caught the eyes of NFL coaches by displaying his burst of speed and quick feet at the NFL Combine. He caught the eyes of the rest of America when a video surfaced of him punching a lady in a Norman, OK cafe in July 2014. Mixon has the physical tools to be a first-rounder, but the off-the-field behavior may have cost him. He could still be a steal if he slides in the draft and it will be interesting to see if Cincy is willing to take a risk.