Le’Veon Andrew Bell Sr. is 28 years old and was born in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Bell attended a local high school where he played basketball, football and ran track. As a sophomore, he ran for 789 yards and 9 touchdowns, following this up with 1,100 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior, and exploding for 1,333 yards on 200 carries for 21 touchdowns as a senior. He was considered one of Ohio’s top performers in the high jump as well.
Only considered a two-star recruit coming out of high school, he had hoped to attend Ohio State. Still, after reportedly being under-recruited, he eventually received a scholarship to Michigan State. Bell made an impact in his freshman year rushing for 605 yards on 107 carries and 8 touchdowns. He also caught 11 passes for 97 yards.As a sophomore, Bell averaged 5.2 yards per carry, rushing 182 times for 948 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also chipped in 35 receptions for 267 yards. As a junior, Bell played in all 13 games, rushing 382 times for 1,793 yards and 12 touchdowns. Catching 32 passes for 167 yards and another score.
Bell measured 6’1?”, weighed 230 pounds and ran a 4.60-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. The majority of people projected him to be either a second or third-round pick. He was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, after Giovani Bernard.
Bell has been in the NFL for six years but has only played in all 16 games once, way back in 2014. Bell has played in a total of 77 games, and in at least 12 games in five of his six seasons. Bell has suffered his fair share of issues of significant injuries, but not many injuries in general. In 2013 he suffered through a Lisfranc sprain in the preseason, which cost him the first three games of the season.
Bell has suffered only one confirmed concussion in his NFL career, and that was back in 2013. In 2014 Bell took a low hit to his knee and suffered a hyperextended knee, which usually strains the ACL. Thankfully these require rest and rehabilitation and often not surgery. The following season Bell sustained a significant injury to his knee after taking a hit from Vontaze Burfict and underwent surgery to repair his MCL and PCL.
To start the 2016 season, Bell missed the first four games after violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Still, he was able to play in the remaining 12 games. Bell underwent surgery in March 2017 for a groin injury, probably a sports hernia that he played with throughout the 2016 season. Bell rushed for a career-high 321 carries for 1,291 yards, only averaging 4.0 yards per carry, along with 85 catches for 655 yards and a combined 11 TDs.
In a bold stance, Bell refused to sign the Steelers’ franchise tag heading into the 2018 season. Since Pittsburgh called his bluff, Bell made the fascinating decision not to play at all during the 2018 season, presumably losing the entirety of his $14.5 million salary that season. In the following off-season, the New York Jets signed him to a four-year deal.
Bell was extremely inefficient in 2019, and the Jets' poor offensive line, which ranked 26th in run blocking by PFF, didn’t help. It wasn’t for lack of volume, as he had 313 touches, the 8th most in the league, but only finished as the RB19 in points per game. If there is a silver lining, it is that the Jets did not add any serious competition this past off-season for Bell. There is a chance he could see another 250 to 350 touches.
Bell’s production last season had zero to do with talent or volume and much to do with a bad offensive line and marginal quarterback. It also doesn’t help that his patient running style doesn’t cohesively fit with the protection upfront. Throw in an Adam Gase offense, and a great player becomes below-average.
Bell did not rank any lower than 11th among backs in carries (245), targets (78), receptions (66), and receiving yards (461). Unfortunately, the volume did not return fantasy production as he finished 16th in fantasy points among running backs. A low touchdown total (4) put him 33rd among the group. On top of his paltry 3.2 yards per carry (46th).
The volume did allow Bell to have a high floor (double-digit points in all but one week), but his ceiling (one week inside the top-10 in points) is collapsing. Bell also finished 26th in broken-tackle rate and 29th in average yards after contact (2.0).
Bell does remain the top-dog in the backfield. Frank Gore will offer respite, and rookie Lamical Perine needs time to develop. The rest of the offense has more role players than superstars. Breshad Perriman comes over from Tampa Bay, and they drafted Denzel Mims in the second round. Jamison Crowder still remains.
The Jets offensive line has improved, and that is going to be beneficial for Bell. It is still a low-tier group and will have three new starters, and possibly five. Left tackle Mekhi Becton from Louisville was their first-round selection. Also, Connor McGovern comes over from Denver. The right tackle will be a battle between Chuma Edoga and George Fant, a free agent from Seattle.
Overall, the Jets offense is going to need to be more efficient. New York ranked 31st in points per game and 32nd in yards per contest. The Jets could only score 1.9 times a game. All of these numbers need to improve significantly for Bell to have a chance to get into top-12 running back numbers.
The 2020 season projects more of the same from Bell. His floor will represent similar numbers from last season. Four to five touchdowns and just over 1,000 all-purpose yards. A ceiling of 7-8 scores and 1,200 all-purpose scrimmage yards.
Sports Injury Predictor calculates that he has a 55.4% chance of injury in 2020, which translates to 2.5 missed games. Bell has a risk score of 5 out of 10, simply because he’s only played all 16 games in one out of his six NFL seasons. He’s definitely sustained some significant injuries and has not been able to return to his elite rushing ways and is likely due to a combination of wear and tear, injuries or a poor offensive line, coaching and QB play.
At this time (July 1), Bell has an ADP of RB20 and an overall of 43. Bell has an ideal shopping spot, and any lower you can grab him will only improve his return on his investment (ROI). I (Dr. Morse) have no interest in Bell this season, for all the aforementioned reasons.
Injury Risk: Moderate. 5/10.
|Projected Missed||Probability of injury per game ?||Probablity of injury in the season ?|
|Jan 22, 2017||Inguinal Groin Sports Hernia||Coach Mike Tomlin admitted Bell had been playing through a groin issue late in the year. But Bell never appeared on the injury report. He underwent surgery in mid-March, 2017.|
|Nov 1, 2015||Knee MCL Tear Grade 3||Bell missed the remainder of the season after tearing his MCL in Week 9.|
|Dec 28, 2014||Knee ACL Pull Grade 1||Bell hyperextended his knee after taking a low hit in Week 17 against the Bengals. He missed the Wild Card game and the Pro Bowl as a result.|
|Nov 28, 2013||Head Cranial Concussion Grade 1||Bell cleared the concussion protocol in time to avoid missing any games.|
|Aug 19, 2013||Pedal Lisfranc Sprain||Bell suffered a Lisfranc sprain in the preseason and was forced to sit out the first 3 games of the regular season.|