After the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft ended, Pittsburgh Steelers fans were riding on cloud nine after the selection of Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones. He is a perfect Steelers type player with the type of make up that endears them to the hard working, blue collar mentality that is Steelers football. Tonight in the 2nd round the Steelers did the same thing in selecting Michigan State running back Le‘Veon Bell. But whether or not he’s a good fit in terms of history and philosophy, is there a good fit on the football field?
Bell is a mixed bag. During the season he played at around 240 pounds, but couldn’t really get to the edges and was purely a thumping interior running back. And he was very good at it. He pounded defenses and rattled their bones. Which is fine, but not sure that makes you a top 50 pick. The offseason comes and he trims down and gets a little faster for workouts, but looks no more comfortable running the ball.
With nearly 675 career carries in college there are some miles on the tires, and that is a consideration as well. Very productive against top competition and for a man his size he’s a very good receiver out of the backfield.
My take-If Bell is going to be successful with the Steelers he has to be who he is. This is a fanbase that idolizes former running back Jerome Bettis. Bell can be Bettis. Get back up into the 245-pound range and be that new Bettis. I am not sure he can get 25 touches a game, but that’s not what he’s going to be asked to do. I don’t doubt that Bell can be a very productive back in the NFL, and as I said he fits the mold of what Steelers fans want out of their running back.
If i have any reservations about the pick it is that it came as the expense of other positions and players that could be viewed as greater needs for the team. The next two rounds will be telling. But all in all I am pleased with the pick and considering Bettis is one of my favorite Steelers players of all time, I’ll be rooting for Bell.