Steelers GM Kevin Colbert Says They Drafted Le\’Veon Bell Because He\’s An \”NFL Back\”

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert continued his media rounds on Thursday and that included being a morning guest on Trib Live Radio to talk about the 2013 NFL draft that took place this past weekend.

During the interview, Colbert was asked about Michigan State running back Le\’Veon Bell, who the Steelers selected in the second-round, and more specifically, he was asked if he was looking for a specific style of running back in the draft and why Bell was the pick.

“Well, Le\’Veon was really interesting to us because we looked at him as an NFL back,” said Colbert. “He had 1,700 yards last year, and close to 900 of those yards were yards after contact; which indicates an ability to make NFL type runs, because holes in the NFL aren\’t going to be the same as they are in college. You saw him make a lot of, what we thought were, NFL type runs. And even if he only had a one yard hole that was blocked, once he made contact, he always seemed to fall forward for four more and that was intriguing.

“His ability to catch and his ability to block were also intriguing. So, in Le\’Veon we thought that we had a complete package. There were several other backs that we liked as well, but not as well as Le\’Veon.”

The Steelers running game was miserable last season and Colbert blasted the group several times during the offseason leading up to the draft. The fact that Bell was one of the few three down backs that best resembled, as Colbert put it, “an NFL back”, and one that they liked the best, apparently made the selection an easy one.

Bell will get every opportunity to be the opening day back to start the 2013 season, but he must first show that he can quickly adapt his style of running to the speed and level of play of the NFL. That process will begin on Friday when the Steelers hold their rookie camp in Pittsburgh.

You can hear the full interview with Colbert in the audio below.


  • r4kolb

    I think what Colbert was subliminally saying is, our “O” line has sucked for years so we needed this kind of running back.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    I completely agree with everything Colbert said, i believe Bell was the complete package and has the ability to take a run for no gain and turn it into a 3 yarder. which we greatly missed last year.

  • Pete

    If we ignore the game of fumbles last season, I feel the backs did the best they could in spite of an inconsistent and often poor OL. What can you do when a defender is in your face in the back field? So is Bell the answer to a poor OL? No. The run game will improve with a better blocking OL and I’m hoping it happens this season. Bell hasn’t played a down in the NFL yet. Lets wait and see how he performs before we give him his coronation.

  • Crazy Bone

    Ridiculous…there are several backs in every draft that can be NFL caliber if you give them a good OL. I bet Colbert never would have drafted Albert Morris because he wasn’t an NFL back. The Steelers could have drafted Franklin or Stacy later (my choice) and still had success if the OL is actually good.

    I still think it was crazy to draft a RB in the 2nd round when the team has so many other needs. It has been proven time and time again that you can have success drafting RB in middle to later rounds.

  • alex


  • Gary Thomas

    An Idiot for Art……..Tell us the truth!…………………..Where is Mendenhall….Oh he would not be the puppet Art and the egomaniac Tomlin wanted him to be.
    Oh I feel better Art is there! LMAO, that is the PROBLEM


    Running back is a massive need for us. 2nd round was the right round to hit this guy, and he fits the mould. The only other back i would have considered would have been Michael, but his attitude and history didn’t fit. This was a very high character driven draft….it’s a good thing, but you need to swing the bat on a few rough pitches now and again..

  • Stephen Dale

    As the other posters have stated : ” the O-line problems directed afected the RB’s production” . A good health year for the O-line will help the running game and whichever back is toting the ball. I was surprised Pitt didn’t draft an O-lineman in the middle rounds ( barrett jones, for instance)….

  • SteelSpine

    I’m only basing this on the several highlights videos I had watched of him, when I saw Bell run, Bell’s style reminded me of Franco, except without the top gear to be able go to when needed to outrun people.

    I’m not sayin Bell will be Franco, nor will Bell get anywhere near as many total yards, & Franco had the best instincts. Plus I remember some fans got sucked into hoping Greg Hawthorne could become the next Franco. And of-course we had a way-better offensive line in the 70’s. I’m just sayin Bell in pads same build & upright style as Franco, including upright when waiting for swing passes. Bell runs different than any running back we’ve had in decades. Our running game so putrid the last couple years so I’m fine with trying anything different now. Lets be open minded & see how it goes.

  • Michael Mazanowski

    Lmao! I took it like that as well!

  • Franco is the first thing I thought of when I looked at Bell’s highlight videos. I hope he is similar to Franco in production. The O-line should be much better with a healthy decastro and another year behind the young guys. Throw in a new o-line coach and a change in tactics to zone blocking and this could be a great year for all of our backs. I don’t care how much the “game has changed”, offenses cannot score without the ball and if you have a running game that can eat the clock, you can win.

  • Barlow

    The Steelers haven’t had a really effective back since they lost the Bus. I hope this is the guy