The Steelers are on the up and up this offseason. They had a quiet and rather trouble free offseason, a solid draft (on paper), no major injuries coming out of mini-camps, and positive notes from players and coaches.
The franchise has the most potent offense that it probably has ever possessed, and those players are getting the due respect around the league – notably through the NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2015. It’s a ranking that is voted on by the players and the players only.
Maurkice Pouncey and Ben Roethlisberger returned to the list with Big Ben getting a bump up to 26th best (up five spots from last year). The Steeler who wears #26 was announced as 16th in the Top 100 – Le’Veon Bell
The man known as the ‘Patient Back’ in his segment received kudos from many defensive players throughout the league. Rightfully so.
What was surprising in the brief 1:21 second video that showed almost the same highlight against the Cleveland Browns over and over was that no one discussed his versatility and THAT is why he is so good.
Sure, Bell is a patient runner for the Steelers and will always look for the smallest hole that could get him five to six yards over just lowering his head and getting three.
But, what makes Bell so good is that his strong running game is equaled by his ability to catch balls out in the flat and is such a phenomenal blocker in the backfield for Big Ben.
DeMarco Murray and Marshawn Lynch are the only top running backs that have yet to be featured on the Top 100. One must assume that they will be on this list, and somehow make it into the Top 10. It’s difficult to figure that one out.
I’m not up and up on the algorithm that is used to decide the final tally of what player lands where on this list. But, it’s just hard to believe that a back like Murray – who has explosive speed but lacks the impact that Bell has for his team, such as soft hands and good blocking skills – would end up higher than Bell.
I can see Lynch getting in (maybe). Beast Mode is becoming legendary. Yet, at the same time, Lynch is known for his ability to lower the shoulder and bowl people over… some of the time.
I think Bell was snubbed a Top 10 slot. Looking at who remains – Aaron Rodgers, J.J. Watt, Tom Brady, Lynch, Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Rob Gronkowski, Calvin Johnson, Murray, and Antonio Brown – I think there’s most certainly room to bump one or two of them out to make room for Bell.
Congrats, Bell, on going from not ranked after your rookie season to #16 in just your second season. Now that is impressive.
Steeler Nation will see where Brown lands on July 8th on the NFL Network.
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