While the Bucs already have two capable running backs signed in Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay was in need of a true third-down back to round out the position group. The Bucs made multiple attempts to add one last year in rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn and veteran LeSean McCoy. But despite joining a position group with a clear need, neither saw significant playing time.
Over his eight-year career in Cincinnati, Bernard has totaled 2,867 yards and 11 touchdowns on 342 receptions for an average of 8.4 yards per catch. In 2020 alone Bernard racked up 355 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns with a catch percentage of 79.7 percent. With his natural pass-catching ability and willingness to contribute in pass protection, Bernard could likely step in right away and play a crucial, although likely limited, role for the Bucs. Pro Football Focus gave Bernard a pass block grade of 73.0 last season, with only three seasons in his career dropping below that mark while eclipsing an 80.0 pass blocking grade in another three.