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'Complete package' RB Bell has Steelers stoked

The SportsXchange

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said before the draft that he did not expect any rookie to have an impact on the Steelers' 2013 season.

The unpredictably fortunate results of the draft from Colbert's perspective has changed all of that, and not necessarily with their first-round pick, Jarvis Jones.

Jones certainly could develop quickly enough to start at right outside linebacker to replace James Harrison, there is little doubt that the Steelers' second-round pick will start.

The Steelers want to re-emphasize their ground game and they will do that behind Le'Veon Bell, the second back drafted.

"He had 1,700 yards last year and close to 900 of those yards were yards after contact," Colbert said, adding that it "indicates the ability to make NFL-type runs because the holes in the NFL aren't going to be the same as they are in college.

"So you saw him make a lot of what we thought were NFL-type runs."

Bell played at 244 pounds but he weighed 230 when the Steelers drafted him. He can run inside and out, catch the ball and he seems to be a perfect fit for what the Steelers want to do and what offensive coordinator Todd Haley plans to do.

"I think it puts us back in a place where we can have a chance to run the ball and throw the ball out of the backfield successfully," Haley said.

The Steelers changed coordinators last year at the behest of Art Rooney II because the team president did not like the philosophy of Bruce Arians. Rooney wanted the offense to put more emphasis on the running game than it had been doing.

But with injuries to lead back Rashard Mendenhall and then to his backups and offensive line, the Steelers slipped further down the NFL rankings to No. 26 on the ground in the NFL and they averaged only 3.7 yards per carry.

They made no pitch to keep Mendenhall as a free agent and they believe Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman are more complimentary backs than candidates to carry the load. Bell is the kind of back who can touch the ball 25 times a game.

"Even if he had a one-yard hole that was blocked, once he made contact, he always seemed to fall forward for four more," Colbert said of the rookie's days at Michigan State. "That was intriguing. His ability to catch and his ability to block were also intriguing."

"In Le'Veon we thought we had a complete package. There were several other backs that we liked as well, but not as well as Le'Veon."
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