Sunday, April 28, 2013

Steelers add to backfield

The Steelers passed on Eddie Lacy and Montee Ball, among others, to take running back Le'Veon Bell in the second round of the draft.While some might question the move - and I didn't have Bell on my second-round list - I found that Lacy had injury issues that caused some concern and the Steelers just liked Bell more than Ball.As you all know, I like Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's draft preview guides. McGinn had Bell rated as the third-best back in this draft, with scouts saying he had the look of a feature back.Will that be the case? We don't know.But what we do know is that Bell carried the ball 382 times last season for a team in which he was the entire offense and did not break down. He also catches the ball out of the backfield well.And at 6-1, 230 pounds, he ran a 4.57 40 and had the fastest three-cone drill among running backs at the combine.OK, that makes some sense.Bell doesn't always run like a big man - he doesn't look for contact like Isaac Redman. But that's not always a bad thing either, especially when you'd like to see him stay healthy in the NFL.The Steelers passed on some good talent to take Bell, including Arthur Brown, D.J. Swearinger and Margus Hunt, three players I think could be stars in the NFL.Bell had better become the player the Steelers think he will be - Tood Haley compared him to Eddie George - for this one not to bite them in the behind in the future. Brown went to Baltimore, while Hunt went to Cincinnati.If those two players turn into stars and Bell does not, the Steelers will be reminded of that four times per season.@ In the third round, the Steelers added a dynamic receiver in Markus Wheaton of Oregon State.Wheaton finished as Oregon State's all-time leading receiver with 227 career catches. The school produced both Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, so it's not a joke record - though Johnson and Houshmandzadeh were there at the same time.He's also got speed to burn. He ran a 4.45 at the combine but says he can run in the 4.3 range. If he can run somewhere in the middle of that, say a 4.37, he's plenty fast enough to help this team replace Mike Wallace.Wheaton is also far more polished than some of the other receivers that went ahead of him. It was a solid pick.@ The draft wraps up today. Look for the Steelers to address the safety position in the fourth round - Phillip Thomas of Fresno perhaps - and then add depth on the offensive line, cornerback and inside linebacker as well.Wheaton's teammate Jordan Poyer would be a possibility in the fourth round at cornerback - he actually returned punts and kicks ahead of Wheaton at the school - as would William & Mary corner B.W. Webb, whom the Steelers had in for a visit.One late round safety to consider is California University's Rontez Miles, a player the Steelers are very familiar with and like.

Steelers add to backfield Images

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