Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard continues to show why he was the first running back drafted this year.
The former North Carolina Tar Heel is not only leading all NFL rookies with 147 rushing yards, but as well as yards-per-carry with 4.6 (minimum of 20 carries) and is tied for the rookie lead with three total touchdowns.
He also is currently graded-out as the No. 4 RB overall by Pro Football Focus’ grading system. PFF also has him currently in third-place in their race for the rookie of the year award.
But there is one thing holding Bernard back and keeping him from getting 20+ touches in a game, and that’s his pass-blocking. While it has improved, the 5-foot-9 200 pounder still has a tough time holding his ground against bigger pass-rushers coming off the edge at him, and he often get’s pushed-back into Dalton, causing deflected or poorly thrown passes.
According to Pro Football Focus, Ellis is the 8th-best pass-blocker of any running back, (out of 57 eligible backs), so it’s easy to see why he continues to get double-digit snaps per game(received 18 Sunday).
And while his inability to convert 3rd-and-shorts have caused his touches to drop, he still will get enough snaps to keep Gio from getting 20+ touches per game on a consistent basis.