Watch Bengals RB position
Heading into last season, Rudi Johnson was a pillar of consistency. You never thought he would be an elite player, but he was still a top draft pick and one of the top running backs taken with his 12 touchdowns and 1300 yards
It would be easy to discount the previous season because of injuries, but his yards per carry dropped to 3.8 in 2006 as well. In 2007 it reached 2.9. When Rudi Johnson was able to get into the lineup, especially early on, he was ineffective. Before his season ended in Week 15 (7 carries 16 yards) Rudi had three straight games with a touchdown. But those were his only three of the year (after scoring 24 touchdowns in 2 years).
Worse yet, Rudi seems to be losing his job to the emerging Chris Perry. Perry has not been fully healthy since joining the league as a 1st round draft pick, but is a quicker running back who is adept at catching passes out of the backfield, something Rudi has never done well.
Kenny Watson is also in the mix to earn playing time after a 2007 in which he performed significantly better than Johnson. Like Perry, Watson can make a difference catching passes with 52 catches for 374 yards in 2007. Watson's work on the ground led the team with 763 yards (4.3 Y/A) and 7 touchdowns.
Because of the ambiguity of the RB status in Cincinnati, all RB's are dropping in the draft. If any of them are moving up the charts it's Perry, who has been getting rave reviews and performed reasonably well in Preseason play.
Stay tuned because at some point a starter will be declared, or they will declare there is a time share which would of course reduce the value of each. If this is the case, look for Johnson to take the goal line carries and the other two being involved in the open field game and catching passes.