Eddie Lacy vs. Le’Veon Bell.
When the Pittsburgh Steelers were on the clock with the 48th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, it appeared that Pittsburgh’s brass would choose one of the two players if they decided to go in the running back direction.
Many in Steeler Nation debated which running back Pittsburgh would take during the months leading up to the draft, and both Lacy and Bell were popular choices. Thus, picking between the two productive college running backs appeared to be a tough choice from the outside looking in back in April.
Yet in his weekly press conference earlier today, the decision regarding whether to take Bell or Lacy with the franchise’s second round pick was quite easy for Pittsburgh’s head coach Mike Tomlin:
Tomlin said it was an "easy decision for me" to pick Le'Veon Bell over Eddie Lacy in last year's draft.
— Scott Brown (@ScottBrown_ESPN) December 17, 2013
First of all, I will always maintain that Pittsburgh’s brass should have filled another need in the second round of last April’s draft. At that juncture of the draft process, the Steelers had too many other pressing needs to fill at inside linebacker, wide receiver, tight end and cornerback. All of those outweighed their need for a running back in my opinion, so I remain less than thrilled that they reached for a running back in the second round.
My take on the situation aside, I can totally understand Tomlin’s logic when it came to choosing between both players. If the Steelers were looking for a more versatile running back, then yes, I could understand why Bell was their selection be over Lacy.
While Green Bay’s second round pick has proved to be the superior runner thus far (1,028 rushing yards and eight touchdowns compared to Bell’s 646 rushing yards and six touchdowns), Bell’s ability to be used in the passing game out of the backfield, lined up in the slot or outside the numbers makes him a tremendous weapon (43 catches for 388 yards compared to Lacy’s 31 catches for 236 yards). Furthermore, Bell’s underrated pass-blocking skills have made him a big help behind Pittsburgh’s makeshift offensive line since he entered the starting lineup in Week Four.
Regardless of the difficulty of Tomlin’s choice, both Lacy and Bell have done well during their rookie seasons. I am sure the Lacy vs. Bell debate will be mentioned plenty of times during the upcoming game, and I will be interested to will be interested to see how both backs perform when Green Bay and Pittsburgh match up this weekend.
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