The Bengals drafted Miami running back Mark Walton with the 112th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Walton should instantly contribute on special teams and gives them a legitimate option at running back behind Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard.
Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor explained why they opted for a running back in the fourth round:
“This is the NFL, and there are times when your first back or your second back is going to miss a game here and there, so you want the very best next runner to be available to play. Just like last year when Brian Hill came in”
Walton led Miami with 10 touchdowns (nine rushing, one receiving) as a freshman in 2015. He earned third-team All-ACC honors with 1,117 yards and 14 touchdowns on 209 carries, along with 27 receptions for 240 yards in 2016. Walton started the first four games last season before a right ankle injury sidelined him. He rushed for 428 yards and three touchdowns before the injury.
Get more analysis on Walton and watch some highlights below.
Mark Walton reminds @PFF_Steve of Dion Lewis. His big plays in 2017 are just sick. Has an incredible lateral cut that just breaks contain angles
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) April 28, 2018
Draft analyst Lance Zierlein on Walton:
“Walton is a fluid combo back with the ability to compete for committee carries and third down snaps. His 2016 tape gives a better indication of his quickness since he was nursing an ankle injury for much of the time he played this year. His indecisiveness as an interior runner should be taken into account when offensive coordinators decide to use him. Walton has the ability to become a solid backup who can handle a heavier touch load over smaller stretches if needed.”