Giovani Bernard   RB   North Carolina

TALENT BOARD ROUND  1

 

STRENGTHS

Giovani is an excellent running back with the overall skills and athletic talent to be an impact player for the team that drafts him.  He is a versatile running back with nice quickness and vision to make a tackler look very bad in open space.  Giovani has good hands and does a terrific job catching the ball out of the backfield.  When he is in a two-back set, he follows his blockers and shows a burst through the line and into the secondary. Giovani likes to carry the ball and is always looking for the big play.  He has a lot of "jitterbug" to his game when running through the tackles and has that innate ability to fall forward on most plays when he is being tackled.  Because Giovani has excellent vision, he doesn't seem to take very hard hits when being tackled which is a big part of staying healthy for the next level. He has the ability and skills to be used in any style of offensive system and impact.  Giovani can break the big run and score from inside the 50 yard line because he has surprising speed, good lateral agility and quickness.  Giovani can impact the day after you draft him, but might take a little time to become your main back.   

 

CONCERNS

Giovani has a little too much "jitter" in his bug -- particularly when he runs up through the tackles.  He has great vision, but sometimes he sees players 5 and 10 yards off of him and to the side and makes unnecessary moves so they won't tackle him instead of just bursting north and south to get up the field.  Outside the red zone, Giovani is bouncing too many plays outside trying to make the big play.  Inside the red zone, he does an excellent job of running through the tackles, using his vision and lateral agility to run north and south to the end zone.  Giovani doesn't seem to trust his blockers which will get him in trouble at the next level.  He also is not setting up his blocks and making it easier for his teammates to block for him.  Giovani will have to learn to block much better than he does right now or he will never be able to stay on the field enough to impact.  He needs to read defenses as well as his quarterback and improve his blocking techniques to take on blitzing linebackers. These issues are not unusual for athletic running backs and I'm sure, with his work ethic and football intelligence, Giovani will correct these problems quickly.

 

BOTTOM LINE

In a spread offense, Giovani could impact right away.  In a pistol offense where the RB is more of a downfield runner and straight line back, he may struggle until he gets stronger in his lower body. Of course if he wants to stay on the field for all three downs, he will have to learn to block much better than he does right now.  Giovani has the potential to impact for the team that drafts him like Thurman Thomas did for the Buffalo Bills and Curtis Martin did for the NY Jets.  He has the same football intelligence, skills and athletic ability those great backs had for their teams.  He must get stronger mentally running the ball through the tackles and physically in his lower body.  Once he accomplishes those two things, he will be something special to watch. He has the potential to be an impact franchise running back for the team that drafts him and I don't care what anyone says about the NFL being a passing league.  If a team does not have the threat of a good running game, they will not win consistently.  You score points in the passing game, but you win games with the running game. 

 

Drew "The B.S. Detector" Boylhart

Jan/2013