When the Pittsburgh Steelers went into the draft, they knew the running back position needed to be addressed early. The team finished 26th in rushing and not one of the five backs on the roster (Mendenhall, Redman, Dwyer, Batch, and Rainey) could take control and lead the backfield to any real success. Instead, the backfield combined for just 1,537 yards and 8 touchdowns. This led the Steelers to selecting Le’Veon Bell with their second round pick in the draft. As time rolls on, we are starting to find out how much of a gem Bell might be.
Inside an interview with the Associated Press, Bell says he grew up idolizing wide receiver Randy Moss. As a kid, Bell thought he was headed into the direction of being a receiver. As Bell continued to play football, he wanted the ball more. Bell would make the transition to running back. From there, a Michigan State star was born.
In 2012, Bell had a highlight game against Boise State. That game sticks out in Bell’s mind as one where he just wanted the ball. He rushed for 210 yards on 44 carries on top of six receptions for 55 yards in a comeback win over the Broncos, 17-13. Bell scored the game winning touchdown on a five yard run.
“I didn’t even know I got the ball 50 times,” Bell said. “I didn’t ever realize I had the ball that many times because I was so in the zone just wanting us to win this game. I was looking up at the scoreboard and I see we’re losing and I’m like, ‘Give me the ball, I’m just trying to score.’”
Not only can Bell be the main guy in the back, but he says he is okay with the Steelers putting multiple running backs in the backfield. Bell says he has that experience while being at Michigan State as well. In 2011, Bell and former teammate Edwin Baker split carries for the Spartans.
Bell’s biggest advantage might be the new zone blocking scheme the Steelers are now switching to. Bell ran behind that scheme in college and was of course very productive.
As you see, Bell has a lot of upside the more you look into him. His ability to make big plays, catch the ball, high stamina, and bruiser mentality are all things that are really drawing my focus at least.
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