Pittsburgh Steelers rookie Le'Veon Bell an ideal fit in almost every way
By Dustin Hockensmith
on June 05, 2013
Pittsburgh Steelers second round draft pick running back Le'Veon Bell takes part in a drill during NFL football practice, Wednesday, May 22, 2013, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Hard-working and humble, powerful and versatile, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie running back Le'Veon Bell was seemingly built to play in Pittsburgh.
The fact that the Steelers moved Bell up their draft boards shouldn't have been a surprise, even when more popular choices such as Eddie Lacy and Montee Ball were available when they picked in the second round.
Pittsburgh selected Bell with the No. 48 overall pick, immediately making the rookie a favorite to start Week 1.
"He fits exactly what the Pittsburgh Steelers are," NFL.com analyst Mike Mayock said. "Once he gets those shoulders turned, he's a bear, and that's a great fit."
Bell came from a pro-style offense at Michigan State, where he led the Big Ten in rushing as a senior and finished among the school's leaders in touchdowns, rushing yards and all-purpose yards.
Since the draft, Bell was mentioned in the same sentence as Chicago Bears Pro Bowler Matt Forte for his versatility. Like Forte, Bell is a tall, physical back, but he is also explosive and can be used as a weapon in the passing game.
"I'll be used in a lot of different ways, kind of how I was at Michigan State, utilizing my receiving skills out of the backfield," Bell said in a wide-ranging interview with SB Nation. "Of course, running downhill and getting tough yardage, that's why they drafted me. Just be an all-around player."
That skill set will fit an evolving Steelers offense looking to get traction after an 8-8 season in which the team ranked 26th in the NFL in rushing. Veterans Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman are in the fold, but the job should be Bell's to lose.
Bell can give a boost to the offense and make a seamless transition to Pittsburgh. He's a native of AFC North country -- he's from Columbus, Ohio -- who played against right tackle Mike Adams in high school.
Bell's family has Steelers fandom in its blood lines, too.
"It's an honor," Bell said. "Actually, my family grew up hardcore Pittsburgh Steelers fans. Once I got drafted, I was already excited wherever I was going to, my family just got ecstatic."
Add it all up, and it's easy to see Bell making an early, lasting impact in Pittsburgh.
Look at the picture above . You see Dweyer in the background and he looks fat compared to Bell. Dweyer has some skill but does not understand what it takes to be the guy.
1.15 WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
2.46 TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
3.97c CB Philip Gaines, Rice
4.118 ILB Shayne Skov, Stanford
5.157 OT James Hurst, North Carolina
5.173c RB Jerrick McKinnon, Georgia Southern
6.192 CB Walt Aikens, Liberty
6.215c DE Deandre Coleman, California
7.230 NT Zack Kerr, Delaware
Steelers Le'Veon Bell receives Michigan State University Alderton Award
By SteelCityRoller on Jun 6 2013
The Steelers second-round draft choice has been recognized as his college's top male athlete for his efforts on the field as a running back for the 2012 Spartans.
The Pittsburgh Steelers believe they have found a weapon of mass dexterity in 2013 second-round draft pick, running back Le'Veon Bell.
Bell's alma-mater, Michigan State University, has decorated him for his explosive final season with the 2012-2013 George S Alderton Award, which recognizes the top male Spartan athlete.
Bell led the entire Big Ten, and finished third overall in NCAA rankings, posting an average of 137.9 yards per game while leading all college running backs with 382 carries. Bell rushed for a total of 1,793 yards, which included three 200 yard performances. The Steelers believe he is capable of becoming an every-down feature back, because of his ability to make plays. Over half of his yardage in 2012 came after contact.
The award is named for the former editor of the Lansing State Journal, who took it upon himself to bestow the name Spartans on Michigan State college, when it discarded the preceding "Aggies" from the school's Michigan Agricultural College days.
If Bell can outrun fellow backs Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman, like he did collegiate defenders in 2012, he could find himself carrying the load by the ball for the Steelers in a role conducive to similar production.
1. Eric Ebron, TE
2. Calvin Pryor, S
3 (Comp). Jaylen Watkins, CB
4. Justin Ellis, DT/NT
5a. Brandon Coleman, WR
5b. Brent Urban, DE
6. Prince Shembo, OLB
7a. Aaron Colvin, CB
7b. Storm Johnson, RB