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''