Adam Schefter of ESPN.com delivered the news today that the Cincinnati Bengals signed RB Benjarvus Green-Ellis to a three-year deal. How does this change the plans of one of the best-situated teams in the draft next month?
The team owns three of the first 53 picks, and they were projected to use one of them on a running back in many mock drafts. The depth of the class means the quality of back there at No. 53 would have been solid, but if the Bengals wanted one of the second, third or fourth best backs (Boise State's Doug Martin, Virginia Tech's David Wilson and Miami-Florida's Lamar Miller), the 53rd pick might have been too late, so No. 21 was in play too.
Green-Ellis is an adequate "dirty work" of a committee approach with third-down back Brian Leonard and the underrated Bernard Scott.
Meanwhile, the Patriots will rely more on 2011 second and third-round picks Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley, and Michael Bush remains a free agent instead of a potential starter in Cincinnati. They could choose to take another young talent with one of their many early picks. The Raiders could re-sign Bush to play his short yardage and likely-used backup role to Darren McFadden.
Green-Ellis's status as a starter despite being an undrafted free agent only encourages teams to make running back less of a priority in the draft.