Cincinnati Bengals should trade Giovani Bernard


The Cincinnati Bengals have an extremely talented backfield with Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill. However, the latter showed in his rookie season that he’s capable of handling the starting duties by himself.

When the Cincinnati Bengals selected Giovani Bernard in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, many people took notice. Not only was Bernard the first running back taken in the draft, but he was being added by an offense that looked like it was building an offensive juggernaut, as the team also drafted Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert in the first round of the draft.

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In his rookie season, Bernard showed a ton of promise in both the running and passing departments. In 2013, Bernard carried the football 170 times for 695 yards and five touchdowns. He also caught 56 passes for 514 yards and five touchdowns. Those are pretty impressive numbers for a rookie.

However, his play in the 2013 season didn’t keep the Bengals from using a high draft pick in the 2014 NFL Draft on a running back. In the second round of the draft, the Bengals drafted Jeremy Hill out of LSU, a guy who has a ton of power. In 2014, the Bengals had the perfect combination of size and speed, as Hill provided the size and Bernard provided the speed.

While the pair could be a dangerous 1-2 punch going forward, the reality is that the Bengals saw towards the end of the season just how special of a player Hill can be. Through the first 13 games of the season, the Bengals went with a running back committee with Hill and Bernard getting the bulk of the carries.

Before Week 15 however, it was reported that the Bengals would be dropping the two running back system and declaring Hill the starter. After the news was reported, Bernard, who would be seeing a ton of less reps, had this to say:

"“I’ve just got to go with that and see where it goes from there”"

Unfortunately for Bernard, the Bengals would then give Hill 70 carries over the last few weeks of the season. In that three-game span, he compiled 395 yards and three touchdowns. This gave him an yards per carry average of 5.6. This number would’ve finished atop the league if he had that pace the whole year.

Heading into the 2015 season, Bernard’s role really is in question in Cincinnati. While Hill recently said that he believes the Bengals will split the carries between the two running backs, the fact of the matter is that the Bengals were better as a whole on the offensive side of the football when Hill was the workhorse back.

Over the offseason, the Bengals added two stud offensive linemen in Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher. It’s yet to be determined where they will play in 2015, but if the Bengals want to feature the running game more in 2015, they have the ability to ground and pound the football with a power back like Hill.

Without a clear role on the team, the Bengals, who are looking to make a deep playoff run in 2015, should look into trading Bernard away to add a piece to the defense. Giving up on a second-round pick from two years ago will be a tough pill to swallow, but if it will bring them a solid defensive player, a trade should be made without question.

Next: Bengals: Expectations for Paul Dawson

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