Bengals need more catches out of backs

April, 16, 2013
4/16/13
11:10
AM ET
The Cincinnati Bengals are looking to add speed and youth to their backfield in this draft to complement BenJarvus Green-Ellis. You can add catching ability to that list as well.

The Bengals targeted running backs 50 times last year, which was third-fewest in the league, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Green-Ellis was targeted 26 times last season, tied for 39th in the NFL.

In his five-year NFL career, Green-Ellis has never been considered much of a receiver. His 22 receptions last season for the Bengals were a career high.

The Bengals, though, obviously want to get more production out of the backfield in the passing game. That's why Cincinnati had expressed interest in a free-agent back like Reggie Bush.

There was a report last month that Bengals coach Marvin Lewis showed particular interest in the pro day workout of North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard, who is known to be an effective receiver. He has good focus and hands, which helped him catch 92 passes over his final two seasons with the Tar Heels. Bernard could be an early second-round pick.

The last Bengals running back to make more than 30 catches in a season was Kenny Watson in 2007. He had 52 receptions that season, which ranked third on the team.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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