Steelers 2013 Draft Prospect Profiles: RB Giovani Bernard – North Carolina

Last month we started our look at potential early round draft prospects for the Pittsburgh Steelers by breaking down a few of the early round outside linebacker prospects. Today we will shift our focus to the running back position and start a discussion on Giovani Bernard out of North Carolina, who you have probably seen associated elsewhere as a prospect for the Steelers.

Below is my quick profile on Bernard along with his college stats and a few videos on him. In the comments below please add the strengths and weaknesses that you feel that he has and why you think that he is or isn\’t a prospect for the Steelers.

Bernard is a smaller back with the ability to work out of one or two back sets. While he is listed at 5 foot 9 and 5 foot 10 on some sites, he claimed to only be 5 foot 8 in a recent interview, so it will be interesting to see what he measures in at later this month at the NFL combine.

Bernard possesses quick feet and above average short area quickness in the backfield, and the game tape shows that he is patient in setting up his blocks. He started his career at North Carolina in a pro style offense but ended it in a spread offense thanks to coaching changes, but his ability to jump cut made his transition go just fine. He has good vision despite his short stature.

As a pass blocker Bernard will need improvement as he generally will rely on cutting defenders low instead of taking them on high. The effort is there for him, but he does tend to lean forward too much, so this could be improved with focus on technique.

Out of the backfield Bernard is a great pass catcher that can either lose himself through the line after play action or run the wheel route. He possesses above average hands and turns quickly up the field with the football after catching it.

While Bernard does not have elite breakaway speed, he did have several runs and receptions of over 20 yards and he is not above lowering his shoulder on defenders in the secondary for additional yardage.

Bernard does have some injury concerns that will need to be checked out as an ACL injury cost him his true freshman year and he missed two games last year due also to a knee problem. He reminds you a little of Ray Rice with his ability and is roughly the same size.

Durability and size are two biggest concerns connected with Bernard, who will most likely be selected in the second or third round of the draft. He doesn\’t appear to have any character red flags attached to him.

Below are stats and videos of Bernard along with audio from a recent interview that he did on Trib Live Radio.

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 2/6/2013.

  • moderatelysane

    Nice profile Dave. Gio seems like an upgrade to what we have, but not an elite prospect. I like his ability to make people miss and willingness to power through the defender. He’s definitely more decisive than Mendy, which is an upgrade. Watching his tape, he doesn’t have the second gear that elite backs have to break away for a big run. On the occasions that Mendy made a decision to shift gears, he has the breakaway ability. Gio looks like a good pickup in the 3rd, but not enough value for the 2nd. He’s no Ray Rice.

  • steeltown

    I love this guy.. I think he’s perfect for what we’re trying to do and would compliment the stable of backs perfectly. We have the power guys already, we need a quick shifty guy who can cut and be decisive.

  • SteelerDave

    Gio is not a bad back but not even close to being worth a 1st round pick. I would only draft him if he somehow fell to us in round two and that would take a very poor combine which would raise concerns.

  • steeltown

    Agreed. Definitely not a 1st Rder… personally I would never draft a RB in the 1st Rd (unless his name was Adrian Peterson)

  • Ben Hardy

    I’d take him in the first only if we would trade back and gain an extra 3rd RND pick

  • george

    I think we should trade our first round for a couple second round picks. We have so many needs and I haven’t seen any player in these mock drafts that are worth first round money.

  • steeltown

    Would be nice…. plenty of talent in the 2nd Rd

  • grw1960

    Interesting RB, so is Graham.
    But I Still favor Lacy or Gillislee ,

    Even Lattimore if the he falls to the Steelers as a later round pick because of his injury. Even if taking him means drafting 2 RBs in this draft .

    Franklin also peaks my interest though I read some where he had some fumbling issues earlier in his college career.

  • Mikey Hoje

    tons of Ex-steeler draft picks of RB’s had 7 yard per run avg yet nearly all of them bombed, Greg Hawthorn and COUNTLESS others. It’s hard to pick a RB with consistency, absence of a great OL blocking.

  • Top running back in the draft. No way he makes it to the Steelers in the 2nd round.

  • steeltown

    I have to agree with you.. there just really arent too many do it all RB’s in this draft, he’ll go earlier than most are projecting… think Doug Martin last year

  • I would like that too, but Miami and Cincinatti are the only teams with two 2nd round picks, so it would have to be with either of them.

  • steeltown

    It would be more likely that we’d receive a 2nd and a couple 3rd/4th or 5th Rd picks.. pending the trade value

  • mokhkw

    He’s a fine RB but I have concerns for him in the Pros. The height doesn’t concern me, but his frame doesn’t look like it can carry much more bulk like MJD or Rice can. While elusive, I’d be concerned about him between the tackles. He’d be available in the 2nd Rd at No.49 I would think.

    Mostly depends on what the Steelers do with their current RBs if it’s worth using a 2nd on a player like Bernard.

  • Guest

    He doesn’t explode through the holes, he dances, and hesitates A LOT! Watch his feet, there way too much pitter patter. I’ve seen enough of that since 2008, thank you.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    I’d really like for the Steelers to target a guy like this who can run out of the shotgun formation. You combine this with a new OL coach and maybe they can break a few more decent runs on passing downs.

  • Ben Hardy

    Unfortunately, they only two teams with 5 picks in the first 4 rounds right now that draft after the Steelers that would want to possibly trade up is Minnesota and S.F. I don’t see S.F. trading up to 17 for anyone. So that leaves Minnesota who needs WR and DT. They can stand pat and get a DT but may have to move up if they want a WR like Keenan Allen or Patterson. Steelers would have to to trade down twice to get out of the first round completely. I’m all about getting some extra pics this year tho.

  • zyzak

    2nd rd for sure. Would be great in the new zone blocking scheme because of his quick feet.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Lacy seems to be more of what we have now so Im not a huge fan although he would be better. Do like Gillislee but he is a change of pace guy and not an everydown back. Bernard would be an every down back and that is what we need. Also like Lattimore in the later rounds like u said.

  • RW

    Yeah I agree. Get someone who’s going to make a quick decision and hit a hole hard. I really like Ball and Bell as feature runners. If we were to take two backs and take a flyer on Lattimore, he’d be a nice compliment.

  • steelasfreek1981

    The more I look at mock drafts the more I agree. The value in this draft will be at positions of need with the exception of RB.
    We should definitely trade out of the first or at least towards the late 20’s and draft a beast Guard like Cooper NC. Should give us a dominant line with great depth assuming we are able to bring back Max for one last season.
    Pick up a FA running back that can catch a ball out of the backfield for cheap.
    Load up on safety`s in 2nd and 3rd.
    Hopefully a play-making WR with natural hands and good route running in the 2nd from the extra pick we get.
    QB Dysert in the 4th or 5th
    A big TE that can catch and run block.

    I would say that this would be the ideal draft for the Steelers.

    Maybe bring in a FA OLB to push Worlids and we are set!

  • grw1960

    I agree Lacy is a simular RB to what the Steelers have Now, but he is much better than either Redman or Dwyer.
    2 -Why couldn’t Gillislee be an every down back?
    He is an 1 to 2 inches taller than Bernard and weighs almost the same. Less than 5 LBs difference.

  • grw1960

    Depends on which draft site you you think is best.
    NFL draft scout has Lacy at # 1 RB at 36th overall and Bernard # 2 RB at 58th overall.
    Which of course could change after the combine results are in.

  • moderatelysane

    This is the primary reason I think Gio is even worth a second rounder. He looks like a great zone blocking scheme back.

  • Michael Mazanowski

    Same here. . . we need extra picks this year.

  • Michael Mazanowski

    My Steelers Mock Draft

    1st Jesse Williams NT
    2nd Desmond Trufant CB
    3rd Johnathan Franklin RB
    4th Ryan Swope WR
    5th Zeke Motta FS
    6th A.J. Klein ILB
    7th Collin Klein QB

  • neighborhooddrunkpart2

    I agree with Steeltown.

  • neighborhooddrunkpart2

    Giovani Bernard>>>>>>>>>Lacy & Ball.

  • Michael Mazanowski

    Dysert wld be an awesome pick. He’ll be gone before the 4th or the 5th though which sucks!!

  • Michael Mazanowski

    Idk…Christine Michael from Texas A&M wld be cool! Even tho he doesn’t have a Steeler esque name! Christine? Really?!

  • Michael Mazanowski

    Robinson to push Worlids. . .he’s a beast!

  • Michael Mazanowski

    Trade with St. Louis at 22. . .I can see it happening! If they
    want Vaccaro and Cooper in succession

  • LucasY59

    Im going by what I’ve seen on videos and multiple draft/football sites and I think they are very similar, I agree the combine is what will determine who is the higher prospect. Lacy is rated a little higher thanks to the Championship game and the fact that he had an O line that may have been better than some in the NFL this season. Bernard and Lacy have similar YPC (around 6.5) total yds 1200+ and projected 40 times, If Lacy can have a really good combine and runs faster than Gio then he is the best RB prospect in this Draft, Im not sure either will be available at the Steelers 2nd rd pick. The RB’s I think the Steelers should be looking at are Lattimore, Barner or Gillislee (all in the 4th rd)

  • Ike Evans

    jesse williams isnt going in the first round

  • Michael Mazanowski

    We’ll c! Combine coming up! Floyd would be a good fit too!