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Friday, April 26, 2013
Bengals re-sign Smith, draft running back

By Jamison Hensley

In the first half-hour of the second round, the Cincinnati Bengals crossed off two needs on offense.

Just before making their pick, the Bengals reached a deal to retain right tackle Andre Smith. Then, Cincinnati used the 37th overall pick (the one from the Carson Palmer trade) on North Carolina's Giovani Bernard, who becomes the first running back taken in the draft. It's the latest a running back has ever been taken in the NFL draft.

Some might be surprised that the Bengals chose Bernard over Alabama's Eddie Lacy, who had been the top-rated back by many draft experts. But there was a report last month that Bengals coach Marvin Lewis showed particular interest in Bernard's pro-day workout.

The Bengals are looking to get more catches out of their receivers, and Bernard is an effective pass catcher. He has good focus and hands, which helped him catch 92 passes over his final two seasons with the Tar Heels.

With Smith back, the Bengals return all of their starters on offense. Smith was expected to re-sign with the Bengals, but it look longer than anyone expected.