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Cincinnati Bengals: Giovani Bernard’s Potential Workload Not a Surprise

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COMMENTARY | The Cincinnati Bengals desperately needed a change-of-pace back entering the 2013 NFL draft and found just that in the elusive North Carolina prospect Giovani Bernard.

Bernard wowed scouts and fans during his time with the Tar Heels thanks to his shifty style that saw him make major contributions in both the passing and running games.

Now in Cincinnati, Bernard will act as the second, more versatile option behind starting back BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

Green-Ellis was great for the Bengals in short-yardage situations last season while rushing for over 1,000 yards, but the offense was predictable with him in the backfield. This was supposed to be mitigated to a degree with Bernard Scott before he was lost to injury.

Most Bengals fans have done their research on Bernard after the team made him the first running back off the board in the 2013 draft. Still, running backs coach Hue Jackson ruffled some feathers in the Bengals community recently with this quote via Pete Schramm of Bengals.com:

"Having evaluated him and watched every game he played this year and had a chance to work him out, and having spent a lot of time with him," Jackson said of Bernard, "he has that skill set where I think he could play and be an every down player."

Of course Bernard is an every-down back. With the Tarheels in 2012 he rushed for over 1,200 yards, received over 400 more and scored a total 17 touchdowns. Once acclimated to NFL speed and improving on his pass-blocking, Bernard will take over as the every-down back in Cincinnati.

Just not in his rookie year.

Green-Ellis is still your starter. Head coach Marvin Lewis trusts his veterans, sometimes to a fault. He's still a rock-solid starter who just needs a complement. At most, expect a 60-40 split with the heaviest part of the workload going to Green-Ellis.

Jackson's comments aren't a surprise in any fashion. It's the offseason and news is slow, but Bernard's capabilities are no secret.

Bernard is the future at running back in Cincinnati, health permitting. Just don't expect it to happen right away. Rather, expect more of a workload as his rookie season progresses.

Chris Roling is a graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. His work has appeared on Bleacher Report, Fansided, The Cincinnati Enquirer and more. He is the co-host of a Cincinnati Bengals podcast, @BengalsCentral

You can follow Chris on Twitter @Chris_Roling

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