Former Michigan State tailback Le'Veon Bell believes he's 'best back in the draft'
By Mike Griffith | firstname.lastname@example.org
on March 14, 2013
Former Michigan State tailback Le'Veon Bell used the Spartans' NFL Pro Day combine to catch passes and run the 60-yard shuttle that he did not partake in at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
EAST LANSING — It has been about two weeks since Bucky Brooks of the NFL.com proclaimed Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell as the top running back emerging in the upcoming draft class.
At least one person agrees with Brooks: Le'Veon Bell.
"I feel like I'm the best back in the draft,'' Bell said matter-of-factly after performing in front of representatives from 29 teams at the Spartans' Pro Day combine on Wednesday at the Duffy Daugherty Football Building.
"I can do everything,'' he said. "I can do things that the 200 and 205-pound backs do, and I'm 230.
"I feel like I'm the most complete back in the draft.''
NFLDraftscout.com, of the CBSsports.com website, has Bell ranked as the ninth running back and 126th player in its rankings last updated on March 8. Bell is listed as the No. 10 running back on NFL.com's "Draft Tracker.''
Bell's high self-appraisal drew no argument from his former coach, Michigan State's Mark Dantonio.
Le'Veon Bell catches a pass during the Michigan State University Football Pro Day at MSU's indoor practice facility on Wednesday afternoon, March 13, 2013.
Dantonio watched as Bell quite literally carried the Spartans to a school-record sixth consecutive bowl season, leading the Big Ten and finishing third in the nation in rushing.
In fact, the modest Dantonio has no issue with Bell tooting his own horn, either.
"You have to be confident, because it's a confident league,'' Dantonio said. "Just like playing at this level, you better be confident You're gonna have your ups and downs and successes and failures, but you better be able to line back up and play.
"This is real life, real football — I tell our guys all the time, it's not a video game,'' he said. "Our guys have played in front of big crowds, they have played in big games in big environments, and now they're expecting to do great things.''
The 229-pound Bell, who has shed 15 pounds since the end of the season, said he does't care with who or where he continues his career.
"I just want to show people I'm capable of playing anywhere, cold weather, warm weather, playing in any kind of weather doesn't bother me,'' Bell said. "I am comfortable with any scheme, power, inside or outside zone, I just let my instincts take over and just run.''
Bell said he met with four teams on Tuesday and two more on Wednesday.
"There are eight or nine teams, teams that need a running back, have been contacting me,'' Bell said. "I've been seeing where they're at, how they rate me, just communicating.''
Bell said he's confident he will contribute right away and make a name for himself.
"I've learned how to use my blockers to my advantage, I try to get consistent yardage and not lose yards,'' Bell said. "I take Arian Foster, I run like him a little bit, Steven Jackson, I'm more of his frame, Adrian Peterson of course, Chris Beanie Wells, they are all good backs of my size.''
Bell said once he decided to declare himself eligible for the draft, he hasn't looked back or regretted his decision.
"At the end of the day, I just felt like I was ready,'' he said. "There's not much more I needed to prove in college. I carried the load, caught the ball out if the backfield, did special teams.
"Coming back, getting another 300 hits on my body, I didn't think I needed that, and I felt ready for the NFL''
And while it looks interesting that Tomlin took him to dinner, remember that Kirk Cousins, from the exact same college, went to dinner with Tomlin last year too.
Nothing came of that.
The TE might be interesting.
DRAFT GRADES FOR TOP 10 BY POSITION - RUNNING BACKS
By Lance Zierlein
March 21, 2013
RUNNING BACK RANKINGS
Running Back School Round
Eddie Lacy Alabama 1st/2nd
Johnathan Franklin UCLA 2nd
Montee Ball Wisconsin 2nd
Giovanni Bernard North Carolina 3rd
Mike Gillislee Florida 3rd
Joseph Randle Oklahoma St. 3rd
Christine Michael Texas A&M 3rd/4th
Andre Ellington Clemson 3rd/4th
Stepfan Taylor Stanford 3rd/4th
Le'Veon Bell Michigan St. 4th
There is really solid depth at the running back position in my opinion. I don't see a back in this draft that I want to draft in the first round, but Eddie Lacy gets the closest to that. The problem with Lacy is that it feels like his value might be a little inflated based on the last game we saw him play (Notre Dame). There are some long-term durability concerns I've heard teams voice about him.
You can tell me that Johnathan Franklin isn't a big guy and I'll tell you that he plays much bigger than listed weight. Franklin is an extremely competitive runner who looks to get the most out of all of his carries and he's got the burst and long speed that compliments his toughness after first contact.
I'm not usually a fan of Big 10 RBs, but I do like Montee Ball. He's consistent, durable and productive and I like his running tempo and his ability to cash checks near the goal line. Giovani Bernard is smaller than he looks on tape and he runs behind his pads better than most 202 pound RBs will. I love his ability to make plays in space despite not having big speed and his return ability is a plus that teams will tap into early in his career.
Mike Gillislee really opened my eyes at the Senior Bowl practices where he showed me a little more speed to the perimeter than I thought he had and a just a little more wiggle. He's a straight-ahead runner who gets plus yardage and who would be a nice fit for teams who are serious about running the ball with a physical mindset.
I like Joseph Randle, but it is really hard to grade him since the Oklahoma State offense created so many open spaces for him to run through. I see burst and decent size and I think he's a good value where I have him slated.
Christine Michael has 2nd round talent, but his baggage might drag him down into the 3rd or 4th round range. He has recovered from his ACL injury and he has the top size/explosiveness combination of any back in this draft. The character is a legitimate concern though.
Andre Ellington is looking more and more like a third down back to me who can handle some backup reps. He's great as a pass catcher and pass protector and that is where his value lies. Stepfan Taylor will smack you and has the same no-nonsense attacking sensibilities that Gillislee has, but he just seems limited athletically. Le'Veon Bell is a bit of a wildcard. He looked like a classic Big 10 grinder, but his tests at combine show a little more athleticism. I don't always see it in pads though which is why I gave him this grade.
Mr. Bell is number 9 on this "Dynamic Speed/Weight Score." Not bad I guess. Also I like #15.:cool:
NFL Draft Prospect Le’Veon Bell Dishes On His Dinner With Mike Tomlin
April 7, 2013
PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Is former Michigan State running back Le’Veon Bell the best running back in the 2013 NFL Draft? Some draft experts think so.
Bell tells Troy Clardy what sets him apart on Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan.
Bell carried the Michigan State offense in 2012, rolling up nearly 1,800 rushing yards on 382 carries.
“The coaches wanted to get the ball into my hands, and I had more opportunities to make plays,” he said. “I’m going to take advantage of every opportunity I’m given, and keep working hard to get to a better position than I’m at now.”
The day before his pro day at Michigan State, Bell’s dinner guest was Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
“It’s been a great experience building relationships with coaches,” Bell said. “It was a great experience getting to know Tomlin, and talk to him. After you see him on TV all the time, it’s kind of surreal having dinner with him.”
When comparing himself to some current NFL running backs, Bell said, “I would say it’s a mixture of two guys. [Atlanta Falcons RB] Steven Jackson’s size and frame and speed, I compare to him. My running style compares to [Houston Texans RB] Arian Foster. He’s more of an upright runner, a zone runner, a one-cut-and-go guy. That’s who I pattern my game after.”
Sources: Le'Veon Bell to visit Jets, Cowboys, work out for Bucs, Jets, Broncos, Steelers, Cowboys
by Aaron Wilson of Scout.com
Le'Veon Bell Profile
Is Michigan State junior running back Le'Veon Bell emerging as the most coveted running back in the NFL draft?
Bell has been called the best running back in the draft by Bucky Brooks and league sources are starting to echo that opinion.
Bell is drawing heavy NFL interest.
He has official visits with the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys and private workouts from the Cowboys, Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to league sources with knowledge of the situation.
He's drawing serious interest from the Steelers, Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers and the Cincinnati Bengals.
His campus Pro Day workout was attended by Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, coach Mike Tomlin and running backs coach Kirby Wilson
The workout was also attended by Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and Broncos running backs caoch Eric Studesville.
Bell is a big, punishing back at 6-foot-2, 230 pounds.
He rushed for 1,793 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior and was named All-Big Ten Conference.
He averaged 4.7 yards per carry and caught 32 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown.
Bell has run the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds and has a 31 1/2 inch vertical leap and a 9-10 broad jump.
As a freshman, Bell rushed for 605 yards and eigh touchdowns.
As a sophomore, Bell rushed for 948 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Bell rushed for 1,333 yards and 21 touchdowns as a high school senior.
He was recruited as a safety by Ohio State, but went to the Spartans and thrived as a featured running back.
For more coverage of the NFL, go to profootball.scout.com.
Anyone who is concerned about his running style shouldn't worry much, he's been a productive RB and relatively injury free with the Spartans.
Marcus Allen had a similar running style but boy did he produce on the field. They said he didn't have the speed either but he found the end zone on a regular basis like Bell did in his college career.
I'm not saying he's the next Allen, but I like how he produced on the field and think he would be a good pick for us.
My mock had him in the fourth prior to the Combine and Pro day, since that time he's moving up the charts, if the Steelers like him they may have to get him in the second or hope he drops to the third round which I doubt now.
You should be. I hear many players say they are the best at their position in the draft. Few are correct. Bell just might be. I have him rated #2 right behind Lacy...and not much behind. He has it all...power, quickness, vision, hands...he is just an exceptional talent.
Originally Posted by Chadman
ehh... not really sold on him. I like the kid from Wisconsin Montee Ball...
I don't think there is much of a concern with his running style as much as his build. The large 6' backs create a much larger target and also creates an inability to get lower and absorb hits at the next level. He was pretty healthy his collegiate career but he will now face LBs bigger than him and DL that are faster....Whole new world. I'm OK with the size-durabilty issue because I have seen enough in my time that squash that. There is always a chance for another Eddie George. Only concern I have is a 6'2" RB running behind a zone blocking OL. Then again, we don't know how far into zone blocking they will tread. The shorter cut RBs get lost and can hit the whole even before the LBs find his helmet. Their body style already has them low to the ground for when they get sniffed out & need to get low. Bell may be at a disadvantage being tall where the LBs can keep an eye on him until he makes his cut. He better maintain a good pad level hitting the holes so he doesn't get caught upright. That could turn into a TO issue for him if he doesn't. If the Steelers draft him, I'm sure they won't be guessing on it.
Ugh. When was the last time a Wisconsin back amounted to anything? Ball has alot of mileage, and he got that behind a massive elite run blocking OL. I suspect Ball will be drafted in the 3rd, and we will never hear from him again.
Originally Posted by feltdizz