When the 2013 draft rolled around, everyone and their mothers knew the Pittsburgh Steelers needed to target a running back in the early rounds.
When that opportunity came in the second round, Steelers’ general manager Kevin Colbert filled the need by selecting Michigan State running back Le’Veon Bell.
So far it seems as if Bell could work out to be a pretty good NFL running back as it looks like he could be a versatile every down back.
There’s only one problem though with the selection of Bell.
Alabama’s Eddie Lacy was still on the board.
I said it on draft day and I’m saying it again, the Steelers will end up regretting the fact that they passed on Lacy.
Sitting as the No. 1 back on almost every draft board at the time, it looked like a gift that Lacy was available for the running back starved Steelers at the time. Sure some teams were scared off by a potential toe problem, but sometimes you just have to take the best player on the board.
Apparently Colbert didn’t see it that way.
The NFL sure has, especially after Lacy’s 150 yard performance Monday night against the Chicago Bears.
The Alabama product has shot some life into the Green Bay Packers offense, rushing for 596 yards in the Packers seven games, averaging a nice 4.4 yards per carry. Since he has come back from his concussion suffered in Week 2, Lacy has looked like a beast.
The same can’t be said for Bell.
The Michigan State product has rushed for only 282 yards and a 3.5 yards per carry average in the five games he has played since returning from injury.
Now it’s not totally fair to look at the numbers and compare the two backs as the Steelers offense line in blatantly bad, but it’s not like Lacy is running behind the Dallas Cowboys line of the 90′s. The Packers offensive line isn’t great, but it is much better than the Steelers is.
This isn’t really a knock on Bell as much it is praise for Lacy and another illustration of how Colbert could have missed once again in the draft.
I have no doubt that Bell will turn into an above average every down back in the NFL.
That’s good, but Lacy has the makings of a Top 5 NFL running back in very short time.
A couple years from now, if you aren’t doing it already, you can look back at this draft and wonder how the Steelers future could be different had they taken the best player on the board.
For a franchise in need of a dominant running back, that player was there.
Unfortunately for the Steelers he ended up in Green Bay.