Running back Le’Veon Bell wasn’t the first pick of the Steelers in the 2013 draft and he wasn’t even the first running back drafted in the league in 2013.
When it comes to potential impact, however, no one tops Bell according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com.
The second-round back out of Michigan State led the nation last year with 921 yards after contact and is the 2013 rookie back most likely to be a clear starter for their NFL team in 2013.
Bell runs a little upright at 6’1/244 and was often criticized for disappointing in the power department, but he is surprisingly elusive for a big back.
He is also underrated as a receiver. Pittsburgh needs Bell to be more than a starter. It needs him to be a finisher. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Pittsburgh ranked 25th in the NFL in fourth-quarter rushing yards. The nine teams that struggled the most running the ball in the fourth quarter all missed the playoffs. Four of the top five teams in fourth-quarter rushing last season made the playoffs.
Bell was college football’s ultimate workhorse last season. No one had more than Bell’s 382 carries, and only one other back had more than 356 carries. The biggest moment of his career came against Boise State last year, when he touched the ball 50 times for 265 total yards in a 17-13 comeback victory.
It would be a shock to see anyone else named the starter in the Pittsburgh backfield. If you are a fantasy football fan, plan accordingly.