By entering his name early in the 2013 NFL draft, Gio Bernard immediately improved a running back class that lacks first-round options.
Bernard, a redshirt sophomore from North Carolina, is at or near the top of his class in several mock drafts. Mike Detillier, creator and owner of the annual Mike Detilliers Draft Report, has Bernard as the No. 43 overall prospect in Aprils draft and No. 1 running back in the class.
Detillier said Bernard ranks above the other running backs in his class primarily for his versatility. He rushed for 1,228 yards this season for the Tar Heels while also totaling 490 receiving yards and an ACC-leading 246 all-purpose yards per game.
Detillier noted that running backs have been devalued in the draft in recent years. Alabamas Trent Richardson went No. 3 overall last season, but the next back wasnt taken until No. 31 when the Tampa Bay selected Boise States Doug Martin.
He has Bernard at an early- to mid-second round selection in a draft with strength at key defensive positions defensive end and linebacker.
Detillier compares Bernard to both Martin and David Wilson of the New York Giants only better. Both of those guys got picked late in the first round, Detillier said. But hes a more versatile player than the two of them, and I think his ability to adapt to any scheme is going to be a huge plus for him.
Bernards strengths quickness, an ability to run inside and the moves to make people miss are enhanced by his ability to adapt.