Le'Veon Bell   RB   Michigan State

TALENT BOARD ROUND  4

 

STRENGTHS

Le'Veon is a big running back with solid athletic skills.  He runs mostly out of a two-back set and does a good job running between the tackles in this system.  He has the hands to be used as a check down receiver and shows strong lateral agility and vision at the line of scrimmage to make defenders miss him.  He is a load to bring down in the open field for most linebackers and safeties.  Once he breaks the line of scrimmage, he will gain a lot of yardage in big chunks.  Le'Veon has unique size for the running back position and his size and athletic skills will interest a lot of teams in selecting him early in this draft but remember, it takes more than talent to play in the NFL. 

 

CONCERNS

Le'Veon has a tailback mentality and thinks he is going to out run players in the NFL.  It's not going to happen.  Also, he is not a very consistent blocker and whenever his team calls a play and the play does not involve him running the ball, his effort level seems to dissipate.  He also struggles to run the ball inside the red zone because he runs too upright.  When he cuts in the hole, he does not cut with power and, because of his size, he needs to make his cuts more north and south.  He doesn't break a lot of tackles, but he does seem to carry players on his back.  That just means players are tackling him too high, which also probably won't happen in the NFL.  Le'Veon has to learn better running back techniques if he wants to run the ball outside of the tackles.  He doesn't need more speed -- he just needs better football intelligence and understanding of his personal athletic limitations.  Mentally, Le'Veon will struggle because he has deceived himself into thinking that he is a breakaway tailback.  The truth is that Le'Veon will have to greatly improve his skills if he wants to be a starting running back for an NFL team.   

 

BOTTOM LINE

Physically, I can see like everyone else that Le'Veon has the talent to play in the NFL.  He has the athletic talent and the size, but he needs to revamp how he plays the game and how it relates to his talents for the next level.  I can see Le'Veon being a perfect fit for a pistol offense.  However, he has to learn to block better or he will not see the field enough to impact even in that system.  It would be nice to see if Le'Veon can catch the ball down the field in order to be used occasionally as a slot receiver in some 4 and 5 receiver sets.  But I'm not sure he has the hands to catch the ball good enough right now, but I bet if he worked hard, he could be effective that way also.  He is a big kid and has to learn to use that size to his advantage and become what his talents suggest he should become:  a power back who can stay on the field in a John Riggins mold. (Do a search.  I can't do everything.)  John Riggins was one of the best at running off tackle sweeps because he understood how to set up blocks, push the line of scrimmage and dip his shoulders to make it look like he was about to cut, when he wasn't.  He gained yardage like most scat backs or tailbacks gained -- running off tackle.  He had good speed, but certainly not breakaway speed and he was big for his time.  Le'Veon could be that type of back if he can get it through his head that he is not a tailback and will not be able to out run or out juke anyone at the next level.  If he can do that, he can be very successful.

 

Drew "The B.S. Detector" Boylhart

Mar/2013