Steeler Nation, Grade Your Draft Picks: Rounds 1-3
2nd Round, 48th Overall: Le’Veon Bell
Le’Veon Bell high steps out of bounds during a game against the Minnesota Gophers.
Bell can be considered by most a controversial pick by the Steelers. Taking all the other needs into consideration – safety, wide receiver, another linebacker – running back appeared to be a position that did not need addressed until later on. Later round picks are usually considered projects, and even though the Steelers ground game was a bit of a mess last season, the Steelers could afford a late round project based selection. Instead, they went with Bell, another ‘fat back’ to join an already elephant ton of weight in the backfield. Head coach Mike Tomlin spoke highly of Bell and began making comparisons to Eddie George. Don’t salivate just yet, Dom had this to day about Bell:
"I understand that the Steelers were in desperate need of depth at the running back position. But Pittsburgh’s offense already has two “fat backs” on their depth chart in the forms of Jonathan Dwyer and Issac Redman. Furthermore, what would compel the franchise to pass on players at positions of need like Keenan Allen and Arthur Brown, let alone more explosive running backs like Johnathan Franklin and Eddie Lacy?…. Bell was essentially the Spartans’ only “offensive weapon” last year. Overall, Le’Veon rumbled for 1,793 yards and 12 touchdowns, and did so against 8, 9, and sometimes 10 man fronts stacked to stop him. To Bell’s credit as well, he has decent field-vision, and possesses the type of feet to work well within a zone-blocking scheme…. Sometimes though, Le’Veon will get too “cutesy” near the line of scrimmage instead of taking the necessary yards in a manner similar to Rashard Mendenhall. In spite of his size, Bell’s somewhat upright running style could leave him at the mercy of linebackers and safeties looking to drop him. Furthermore, I question whether or not the former Spartan is agile and fast enough to cut up field outside the tackle-box, and has enough explosiveness to elude and outrun oncoming defenders."
Bell has potential, but is he really an ‘every down back’ that the Steelers want him to be? And what will this do to the rest of the backfield now that it is very crowded with some big boys? What grade to you give Bell?