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Beat: Chris Evans could supplant Perine as Bengals third-down back

6/23/2022 5:41:20 PM
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With the Cinncinati Bengals reportedly wanting to limit Joe Mixon's usage on third downs, second-year running back Chris Evans has a chance to supplant Samaje Perine as the team's third-down back according to Paul Dehner Jr of The Athletic.

Dehner noted that Mixon's third down role declined dramatically as 2021 progressed. He averaged 5.3 third down snaps over the first six games of the season, but just 1.8 third down snaps in the Bengals' final nine games. Perine was heavily involved down the stretch, averaging 9.2 third down snaps per game. Dehner believes that Mixon was phased out of third downs due to his struggle in pass protection, allowing the less dynamic Perine to earn significant playing time.

Evans, a 2021 sixth-round pick out of Michigan, played well in limited pass-blocking reps as a rookie.  He would offer a more electric third down presence; his 2.11 yards per route run was an outstanding mark for a running back. Dehner believes that "if he can continue to grow as a pass protector and build trust in the coaching staff to do the right things, you could make an argument he could supplant Perine as the third-down back." Evans makes for an interesting last-round dart throw as a bet that he earns the job by the end of the year.

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