Rex Burkhead to Bengals: How Does RB Fit with Cincinnati?

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2013

The Cincinnati Bengals may have found a solid contributor for years in Rex Burkhead.
The Cincinnati Bengals may have found a solid contributor for years in Rex Burkhead.Eric Francis/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals entered the sixth round of the 2013 NFL draft with two selections to make, giving the coaching staff a little extra breathing room to find playmakers. 

Cincinnati may have done just that in the form of Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead with the No. 190 overall selection. 

Believe it or not, Cincinnati may have filled a bigger need than most realize with the selection of Burkhead. 

Let's take a moment to look at how Burkhead fits in the Queen City. 



At 5'10" and 214 pounds, Burkhead is a versatile athlete who has taken snaps at running back, wide receiver and even quarterback at the collegiate level. 

Primarily used as a running back, he amassed over 1,300 rushing yards in 2011 alone after finally emerging from the shadow of Roy Helu. 

Burkhead is almost an identical player to that of former Bengals third-down specialist Brian Leonard, who now has the same role with his new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

While not the fastest player, Burkhead is a strong runner with great awareness and a special knack for getting the ball past the first-down marker or goal line when his team needs it the most. In other words, as Bengals fans are sure to recognize, he's a younger version of Leonard. 

The depth chart in Cincinnati at running back is starting to become a bit murky. There's Giovani Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis holding it down as the ideal one-two punch. 

After that, you have Bernard Scott recovering from a torn ACL, special teams expert Cedric Peerman and second-year man Dan Herron. 

What we're saying is, Burkhead has a long way to go before he makes the roster. 

There is a chance Burkhead can make the final roster, especially if Scott is not 100 percent and he can prove his expertise on special teams. Unfortunately for Burkhead, Peerman was the best special teams player Cincinnati had last season not named Dan Skuta. 

The worst-case scenario is Burkhead lands on the practice squad for a year while the coaching staff waits to see how things shake out at the position. 

However, the safe bet is he finds a Leonard-esque role with the team and sticks around for quite some time.


Early Projections 

Again, do not expect Burkhead to necessarily make the final roster this season, but he certainly has a fair shot given his very diverse skill set that allows him to perfectly fit into offensive coordinator Jay Gruden's West Coast attack. 

If injuries strike, Burkhead will make the roster. Scott has not proven to be the most durable, and Herron did not impress many last season. 

Training camp and preseason are going to be huge for the Nebraska product. Should Burkhead sneak onto the final roster, expect him to make rare contribution in his first season with the team while being groomed for something much larger in the coming years. 


All pertinent prospect info courtesy of CBS

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