When the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Le’Veon Bell in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the hope was that they acquired an all-around running back. While Bell started the season slow due to a foot injury and an unsettled offensive line, he is now exhibiting the all-around potential that he showed at Michigan State.
Over the course of the last five weeks, Bell has registered 320 yards rushing on 95 carries and another 237 yards receiving on 20 receptions. It might surprise you to know that Bell’s 557 total yards over the course of those five weeks ranks him sixth overall in league in total combined rushing and receiving yardage during that span. In fact, Bell has produced exactly 100 more yards of offense than wide receiver Antonio Brown has during that same five week span of games.
Another reason why the Steelers liked Bell so much was because of his ability to get yards after contact and he has not let them down when it comes to that area of his game. According to Pro Football Focus, 204 of Bell’s 320 rushing yards (63.8%), have come after first contact.
Bell will never be a breakaway running back, but in the Thursday night loss to the Baltimore Ravens, he showed that he does have the ability to break a long run. While his pass blocking is not yet where it needs to be, he has shown improvement in that area of his game and he should only get better at it moving forward.
There are still four games left in the regular season and if the Steelers are going to have a shot at sneaking into the playoffs as the final AFC Wild Card team, they will need Bell to continue contributing like he has over the course of the last five weeks. While he did suffer a concussion late in the game against the Ravens, all signs point to him being ready to go by Sunday for the Steelers game against the Miami Dolphins.
While Bell certainly won’t win the league Offensive Rookie of the Year Award this season, he should be shoe-in to win the Steelers version of it. He’s exactly who the Steelers thought he was when they drafted him.