2013 NFL Rookie Prop Bets: Bengals RB Giovani Bernard looking Strong

Cincinnati Bengals v Atlanta FalconsOver the last month or so, we’ve been discussing our 2013 Rookie of the Year prop bets. And one player who’s made our list of rookies that can be bet upon is Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard. Currently, Bernard is one of the longer shots to win since he carries 14-to-1 odds. However, the early preseason has shown that he may be undervalued at these odds.

In his last preseason outing against the Tennessee Titans, Bernard carried the ball seven times for 39 yards and a touchdown. He also added a 22-yard reception, which showcased his big-play ability.

And Bernard’s ability to make big plays is the main reason why Cincinnati took him with their second-round pick. The 5’9″, 208-pound back averaged 6.7 YPC in his final season at North Carolina, and is averaging 4.5 YPC through two games in the preseason. Assuming these stats translate over to the regular season, the 21-year-old could be in for a very promising rookie campaign.

Of course, many naysayers are quick to point out that the Bengals already have BenJarvus Green-Ellis as their primary ballcarrier. Green-Ellis compiled 1,094 rushing yards and 6 TD’s on 278 carries. However, the problem with this vet is that he’s neither explosive nor a legitimate receiving threat out of the backfield. Plus Green-Ellis has been banged up in the preseason, giving Gio Bernard a solid opportunity to show fans what he’s got.

giovani-bernard-rookie-1So what you’re likely to see out of the Cincinnati running game next year is a two-headed attack. Green-Ellis will start the 2013-14 season as the Bengals’ bell cow. But you can bet on Bernard getting plenty of touches in the early going as well.

One surprise area where you might see a lot of Bernard is near the goal line. He’s two-for-two on his goal line attempts in the preseason, and has already excelled in a facet where Green-Ellis was pretty bad. And if he can improve his pass blocking, the rookie will be seeing a lot of third-down snaps too.

On the other side of the fence, you also have to consider that this is just the preseason, and it’s hard to base an entire year on what happens in two warm-up games. Plus Green-Ellis is a proven veteran who was sat out of the Tennessee contest to rest up.

But one thing is clear: Giovani Bernard is definitely going to be on the field. And if he continues doing as well as he’s done in the preseason, this will no doubt be a strong rookie year.

Terrell Owens eyes Bears, but can he still play in the NFL?

terrell-owens-bearsThe last time that Terrell Owens played an NFL game was for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010 – a year in which he turned in a respectable 72 catches, 983 yards and 9 touchdowns. However, offseason knee surgery, age, and Owens’ typical antics ruined that one-year union.

Since then, the five-time All-Pro receiver has been on an odyssey that’s led him from the Indoor Football League’s Allen Wranglers to the Seattle Seahawks – none of which resulted in an NFL regular season roster spot. But even at the age of 39, Owens hasn’t given up on his NFL dreams and is hoping that the Chicago Bears will give him a shot.

One big reason why T.O. seems fixated on the Bears is because of their new head coach, Marc Trestman. While Owens was a rookie with the San Francisco 49ers in 1996, Trestman was the Niners offensive coordinator. Of course, he admits that it’s been a long time since the two have spoken.

Trestman isn’t the only person who has T.O. thinking he can suit up for the Bears. While participating in a McLegends charity basketball event in Chicago, Owens worked out with former NFL linebacker Napoleon Harris. After their workout and a lengthy conversation, Owens came out feeling like he’d be a good fit for the Bears. He said, “To think about (Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall) on the other side and me on one side, that’s really dangerous. I’m keeping myself in shape just for any opportunity that may come about.”

The Marshall-Owens combination might be really dangerous for more reasons than just on-field production. Pretty much everywhere T.O. goes turns into a circus at some point in the season. Sure there’s always talk about how this year is going to be different and he’ll blend in with teammates and coaches. But every time, it’s the same thing – clashes with teammates, blasting coaches through the media, and several off-field antics.

As for the Marc Trestman connection, well the former Montreal Alouettes coach last worked with Owens 17 years ago. Furthermore, it’s difficult to see the first-time NFL head coach wanting to take the Owens challenge in his initial season. This is especially the case with all the pressure there is to make the playoffs in 2013.

Of course, the latter is also a reason to give T.O. a look because, even at the age of 39, he’s still believed to have plenty of ability. He’s only two years removed from leading the Bengals in receiving yards and kept sharp with the Wranglers and Seahawks (preseason) over the past two years.

Harris attested to Owens’ athletic ability by telling SportsNet, “The guy was a great player and he is in tremendous physical shape. We worked out this morning and after we ran five miles, he did sprints and lifted and he looks great. The Bears would be smart to give him an opportunity. He is motivated and ready to play.”

It’s not hard to believe that Terrell Owens is motivated and ready to play. However, the question is if he’ll be ready to mesh with teammates and listen to the coaching staff.

Reggie Bush to Lions, Wes Welker out in New England

reggie-bushThe NFL offeseason continues to be action-packed as a number of big-name stars are finding their way to new teams. Earlier this week, Percy Harvin found a new home in Seattle after the Minnesota Vikings traded away the fourth-year player. Apparently, Minnesota had grown tired of his antics, contract demands, and insistence that QB Christian Ponder stinks. In exchange, the Seahawks will receive the 25th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, along with a seventh round pick (2013) and third round pick (2014).

The Harvin news is already a bit old, but a brand new story has veteran running back Reggie Bush going to the Detroit Lions. The exact dollar figures haven’t been released yet, but the deal is for four years. Considering that Bush had a two-year, $9.75 million deal with the Miami Dolphins and played his best football there, it’s likely that he could be earning more than the annual $4.88 million from the old contract. Bush has run for 4,162 yards and 29 touchdowns, and caught 372 passes for 2,730 yards and 15 touchdowns in his seven-year career.

After being selected by the New Orleans Saints with the second overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, Bush was largely viewed as a disappointment during his time in New Orleans. However, he experienced something of a career revival with the Dolphins by rushing for 2,072 yards and 12 touchdowns, and adding 78 catches for 588 yards.

During this time, Bush proved that he can be an every-down back – something which definitely wasn’t apparent in New Orleans. Of course, the USC product won’t have to carry the full load in Detroit since the Lions also have Mike LeShoure. After missing the first two games of the 2012 season with an injury, LeShoure ran for 788 yards, which ranked 23rd in the NFL last year.

Bush should fill the gaping void left by Jahvid Best, who Detroit hoped would be a speedy, explosive back after using their 2010 first round pick on the California star. However, Best dealt with serious concussion issues before being released by the Lions in 2012.

Reggie Bush signing with the Detroit Lions isn’t the only big news from today, so here’s a look at what else is currently happening in the NFL.

wes-welkerWes Welker unhappy with New England Offer

Following another fine year in which he caught 118 passes for 1,354 yards and 6 touchdowns, Wes Welker was hoping to get a nice fat contract renewal from the New England Patriots. But what he got instead was a “laughably low” first offer that has the 10-year veteran ready to test the free agency market.

Apparently, the Patriots are going after Cleveland do-it-all receiver Josh Cribbs and don’t consider Welker a top priority – despite his incredible route running skills and impressive yards-after-the catch stats. It’s unclear where Welker will fit in elsewhere, but Philadelphia would be a nice spot since new head coach Chip Kelly loves to run screen routes.

rashard-mendenhallRashard Mendenhall signs with Arizona Cardinals

Two years ago, this would have been much bigger news. However, Mendenhall suffered through a dismal, injury-plagued season with the Pittsburgh Steelers and only rushed for 182 yards in 2012. Nevertheless, this one-year deal could definitely benefit both sides because Mendenhall can immediately step into the starting role for Arizona.

After all, the Cardinals were terrible at running the football since they averaged just 3.4 yards per carry; their leading rusher was third-down back LaRod Stephens-Howling, who had 356 yards on 110 carries. Beanie Wells (234 RYDS in 2012) was expected to be a full-time starter last year, but suffered a turf toe injury and was released this offseason.

As for Mendenhall, he has 3,549 rushing yards in five seasons, including a 2010 campaign where he ran for 1,273 yards and 13 touchdowns.

mike-goodsonMike Goodson visits Cincinnati Bengals

One more piece of recent NFL offseason news worth reporting is that former Oakland Raiders running back Mike Goodson is visiting the Cincinnati Bengals. He’s also being pursued by the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys, but appears closest to signing with the Bengals.

Cincinnati already has BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who ran for 1,094 yards and 6 touchdowns last year; however, Green-Ellis isn’t a great receiver or breakaway back, which makes Goodson a perfect compliment. In five years, Goodson has ran for 722 yards, caught 78 passes for 524 yards, and scored four touchdowns in a third-down role.