Tar Heel Back Bernard Could Be Useful If He Falls To Cowboys

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(Editor's Note: Heading into the upcoming NFL Draft, held April 25-27, DallasCowboys.com will take a closer look at the prospects, including some that could be potential fits with the Cowboys. Today's featured player is North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard).

Name: Giovani Bernard

Position: Running Back

College: North Carolina

Height/Weight: 5-8/203

Age: 21 (born Nov. 22, 1991)

Honors:Bernard was a first-team All-ACC selection in his final year at North Carolina. He also earned third-team All-America status and was a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award. Bernard averaged 6.7 yards per carry on the way to 1,228 yards and 12 touchdowns, which left him just one vote short of Clemson quarterback Tahj Boyd for ACC Player of the Year. 


Key Stat:Bernard's going to have a chance to do more than just take handoffs in the NFL. In addition to his acumen as a runner, he caught 47 passes for 490 yards and five touchdowns in 2012, and he averaged a fantastic 16.4 yards per punt return with two touchdowns.

Where He's Headed:Bernard is widely regarded as one of the top two or three running backs in this class. However, this is not an overly strong class in that position. Like most of his draftmates at running back, Bernard's numbers don't exactly jump off the page. It's possible he could be a first round selection, but that would probably be a reach. Sometime in the early to mid-second round is more likely.

How He Helps the Cowboys:What better way to spell DeMarco Murray in the backfield than with a jack-of-all-trades youngster? Bernard might not be the type to handle 25 attempts a game, but he's powerful enough to take carries between the tackles, and he's also reliable enough with his hands to make him a quality third down back. If given a chance, it's possible he could even wrest the punt returner job away from Dwayne Harris.

Scout's Take: Short player, 5-8 in height. … Doesn't give tacklers much hitting surface and will bounce off tacklers with the ball in his hands. … Makes cuts but can also get around the corner. … Some pick and slide in the hole. … Good vision. He can see the holes and make the correct cut. … For a short player, he can take the ball between the tackles, but is better trying to get it off the edge or around the corner. … Has some start-stop quickness and can change direction. … Will try and take the ball backside if he sees an opportunity. … Patient runner. Doesn't just run into contact. Allows play to develop, then he goes. … There are plays where he doesn't run through tacklers. Have seen him be taken down by one tackler. … Catches the ball well on the screen, although he did have a play on an underneath route where he didn't adjust to the ball behind him against Miami, but other than that, hands were good. … Knows how to work himself in position by selling that he is going to block then working to the outside to catch the ball. … If he has a poor trait, it's that he will struggle as a pass [embedded_ad]

blocker. … It's not that he is afraid but he just lacks the height to do it well. … In the games I studied, he didn't always hit square and stay on his feet. It might be something where he was taught to be a cut blocker, but that is his go-to technique. Will need to be retrained if he is going to stay on the field all three downs. … Does a nice job of getting the ball into the end zone. – Bryan Broaddus

Bernard_041513_650.jpg


(Editor's Note: Heading into the upcoming NFL Draft, held April 25-27, DallasCowboys.com will take a closer look at the prospects, including some that could be potential fits with the Cowboys. Today's featured player is North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard).

Name: Giovani Bernard

Position: Running Back

College: North Carolina

Height/Weight: 5-8/203

Age: 21 (born Nov. 22, 1991)

Honors:Bernard was a first-team All-ACC selection in his final year at North Carolina. He also earned third-team All-America status and was a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award. Bernard averaged 6.7 yards per carry on the way to 1,228 yards and 12 touchdowns, which left him just one vote short of Clemson quarterback Tahj Boyd for ACC Player of the Year. 


Key Stat:Bernard's going to have a chance to do more than just take handoffs in the NFL. In addition to his acumen as a runner, he caught 47 passes for 490 yards and five touchdowns in 2012, and he averaged a fantastic 16.4 yards per punt return with two touchdowns.

Where He's Headed:Bernard is widely regarded as one of the top two or three running backs in this class. However, this is not an overly strong class in that position. Like most of his draftmates at running back, Bernard's numbers don't exactly jump off the page. It's possible he could be a first round selection, but that would probably be a reach. Sometime in the early to mid-second round is more likely.

How He Helps the Cowboys:What better way to spell DeMarco Murray in the backfield than with a jack-of-all-trades youngster? Bernard might not be the type to handle 25 attempts a game, but he's powerful enough to take carries between the tackles, and he's also reliable enough with his hands to make him a quality third down back. If given a chance, it's possible he could even wrest the punt returner job away from Dwayne Harris.

Scout's Take: Short player, 5-8 in height. … Doesn't give tacklers much hitting surface and will bounce off tacklers with the ball in his hands. … Makes cuts but can also get around the corner. … Some pick and slide in the hole. … Good vision. He can see the holes and make the correct cut. … For a short player, he can take the ball between the tackles, but is better trying to get it off the edge or around the corner. … Has some start-stop quickness and can change direction. … Will try and take the ball backside if he sees an opportunity. … Patient runner. Doesn't just run into contact. Allows play to develop, then he goes. … There are plays where he doesn't run through tacklers. Have seen him be taken down by one tackler. … Catches the ball well on the screen, although he did have a play on an underneath route where he didn't adjust to the ball behind him against Miami, but other than that, hands were good. … Knows how to work himself in position by selling that he is going to block then working to the outside to catch the ball. … If he has a poor trait, it's that he will struggle as a pass [embedded_ad]

blocker. … It's not that he is afraid but he just lacks the height to do it well. … In the games I studied, he didn't always hit square and stay on his feet. It might be something where he was taught to be a cut blocker, but that is his go-to technique. Will need to be retrained if he is going to stay on the field all three downs. … Does a nice job of getting the ball into the end zone. – Bryan Broaddus

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