Giovani Bernard RB North Carolina #26
Size/Athleticism: Not a big, physical back but well-built enough to hold up as a feature back at the next level. His athleticism and ability to make defenders miss is his best asset.
Vision: Great vision in the open field. He does a nice job taking angles to pick up maximum yardage when bouncing runs to the outside. Vision in the backfield appears to be limited by his average height. When holes don’t immediately open up he hesitates. Needs to be more decisive when the obvious hole isn’t there.
Power: Limited in terms of his ability to run between the tackles. Rarely lowers his shoulder to take on a defender and instead relies heavily on an occasionally-effective spin move. He’ll slip out of some tackles due to his quick feet but he doesn’t run over defenders and struggles to pick up the tough yards. He’s not the type of runner who can push the pile and should be complemented by a power running back.
Speed/Agility: Unquestionably his best asset. He possesses incredibly quick feet and has the ability to slide between holes in the line. He’s difficult to corral in the open field and can pick up chunks of yards once he’s able to work his way into some open space.
Passing Game: Frequently used as a receiver out of the backfield and demonstrates the ability to be a productive dual-threat running back. Lacks the size to be a dominant blocker, but gives a solid effort and is generally effective.
Intangibles: No off-field concerns of note. Worked hard to rehab from injuries. Limited information available on the extent of the injuries due to North Carolina’s policy on disclosing information about injuries and other off-field issues.
Durability: Serious injury concerns due to multiple knee injuries. Missed entire 2010 season with knee injury. Missed two games in 2012 with another knee injury.
Comments: Bernard has the athleticism to be an effective running back at the next level, but he lacks the size to project as a true difference maker. My biggest concern with Bernard is the extent to which he avoids contact. While his ability to make guys miss will make him a valuable asset, he simply isn’t the complete package. He reminds me of Kendall Hunter or a poor man’s C.J. Spiller. Unless he bulks up and alters his running style, I have a difficult time picturing him as anything more than a complementary running back at the next level.