Bernard has excellent talent to play his position at a high level for the team that drafts him. He is one of the quickest cutting running backs in this draft and his lateral agility is right up there with the best in this draft. Bernard is a smooth runner and his speed is deceiving. He shows good vision and, with his lateral agility and quickness, will be very hard to bring down in open space. Bernard is the type of runner that can make something out of nothing and yet he will follow his blockers, is patient and will not bounce runs to the outside until he see's there is nothing. He has good size and will run between the tackles without fear, but his strength is more as a finesse runner who might be a better fit for a spread offensive system. Bernard has the potential to be an impact player in the NFL for the team that drafts him. He is the type of player who will be better in the NFL than he was in college.
The biggest concern for me is whether or not Bernard can catch the ball out of the backfield? His college team refused to throw him the ball and seemed to favor a less talented back over Bernard. The question is: Do the Temple coaches favor the other RB because of Bernard's lack of talent to catch the ball? Do they just refuse to use Bernard in passing situations because he doesn't block very well or catch the ball very well? I do not have the answer. Bernard is not a power back for a power running game and I suspect that is the reason they seem to favor a smaller, less talented RB over Bernard. Nevertheless, Bernard must prove that he can be used all over the field in multiple positions. That means his football intelligence, blocking and his ability to catch the ball are all question marks.
Bernard has CJ Spiller (RB, Buffalo Bills) type of talent. In his workouts, he has much to prove and, if he can't answer all of those questions, it puts him way behind the eight ball (so to speak) as far as using him in the same way the Bills are using CJ. It's real simple -- Bernard was in the wrong offense for his college team and he is smart to come out early for that reason. Temple is using a power running game and that is not Bernard's forte. You can see that when they occasionally pull the guards and Bernard is allowed some leeway in picking a crease, planting his foot and making his cut. When he does that, you see the natural skills that only the top running backs possess. This kid has a lot more talents than your typical one cut and go, zone blocking scheme back that you can find anyplace in the draft. If Bernard can prove the ability to catch the ball down the field, pickup and read the blitz and have the football intelligence to learn more than one position than Bernard becomes a weapon. Players with Bernard's type of talent are unique and, for me personally, to put some bang in your one dimensional offense, you would be foolish to pass on drafting Bernard. The potential is just too obvious. You might have to wait for him to get up to speed, but I just bet this kid could be a weapon returning kicks and punts also, that's if he can catch the ball! Workouts will be big for Bernard. Demarco Murray (RB, Dallas Cowboys) wasn't drafted until the 3rd round because of fear of injuries with the style of running. When Demarco hit the field he impacted big time but...he did get injured because this type of running back is not a power back and, if used that way, will get injured. The reason for this is the pad level is two high. I project Bernard as being that style of back. Don't use him in the backfield all game long and on every down. Move him around, use a bigger back for power and drive your opponent nuts trying to match up with him.
The BS Detector
Drew Boylhart March /12