The Pittsburgh Steelers spent last season flip-flopping between big running backs, small running backs, ones who could catch and ones who could run, with varying levels of success.
Offensive coordinator Todd Haley believes Groveport graduate Le’Veon Bell can stop the revolving door.
The Steelers selected Bell in the second round of the NFL Draft last night, hoping the 21-year-old can become the workhorse Pittsburgh has lacked since Jerome Bettis retired in 2005.
“He’s a three-down back with very good hands,” Haley said. “He catches the ball very well out of the backfield. He’s a young kid who doesn’t have a lot of tread on the tire.”
Bell ran for 3,346 career yards and 33 touchdowns with Michigan State and caught 78 passes for 531 yards and a score. He rolled up 1,793 yards in 2012, the second-highest season total in Michigan State history and was named to the all-Big Ten first team.
“A lot of people look at me like, ‘He’s just a short-yardage back,’ ” Bell said. “But I don’t look at myself like that. I can get to the outside and beat you with speed. I can catch the ball out of the backfield. I can pass protect … There’s a lot of things that I can do to bring value to the Steelers and that’s what I plan on doing.”
Te’o to Chargers
Manti Te’o spent Thursday night with his family in Hawaii, watching the first round of the NFL draft and expecting a phone call that never came.
That call finally came last night. San Diego Chargers rookie general manager Tom Telesco traded with Arizona to move up seven spots in the second round to draft the Notre Dame linebacker with the 38th overall pick, apparently not worried about a hoax involving a fake girlfriend and a poor performance in the national championship game that have dogged Te’o for four months.
“I did expect to go in the first round. But things happened and all it did was give me more motivation to get better,” Te’o said. “I don’t know if I have something to prove but it definitely puts a huge fire under my butt to just be better.”
Cardinals take Mathieu
After making safe picks in the first two rounds of the NFL draft, the Arizona Cardinals took a gamble in the third by selecting defensive back Tyrann Mathieu of LSU.
Once considered a Heisman Trophy front-runner and sure-bet first-round pick, Mathieu saw his stock plummet after LSU coach Les Miles kicked him off the team in preseason camp in August for failing multiple drug tests.
Mathieu didn’t play in 2012 and was arrested less than two months later with three former teammates after police found 10 bags of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in his Baton Rouge, La., apartment.
The player known as the Honey Badger spent two weeks in a drug treatment program run by former NBA player John Lucas and the months leading up the draft trying to rehabilitate his image.
Tight end Travis Kelce of Cincinnati was the first pick in the third round, 63rd overall, by the Kansas City Chiefs. Brian Winters, a 6-foot-4, 320-pound guard from Kent State, also was taken in the third round, 72nd overall, by the New York Jets.