Kansas City signs LeVeon Bell, and it’s a move that makes a lot of sense – the kind of addition that could play a big role in that team winning a second Super Bowl.
KC will certainly be in the playoffs, but it’s been operating with little depth at the running back position. They’ve got Clyde Edwards-Helaire, but little else. If CEH were to get hurt, they would have been down to lightly regard Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson as their main running backs. If they needed to win a couple of big games in January or February, that would get a lot more likely with Bell starting at tailback rather than those guys.
Andy Reid has seen Bell operate at a high level at Arrowhead Stadium. He helped lift the Steelers to a win there in a playoff game in 2017 by running for 170 yards. He came back in the regular season in the next year and ran for 179.
And Bell probably will be able to add something when used in concert with Edwards-Helaire. The rookie started off the season with a huge game, but he hasn’t been as effective in their last four games. He’s averaged 52 rushing yards in his last four games, not averaging better than 4.0 per carry or scoring in any of those games. Not that anybody in Kansas City is regretting selecting him with the final pick of the first round, but he’s a work in progress – a developing guy.
With Bell, they now have the luxury of going to more of a committee approach. When Andy Reid was coaching in Philadelphia, he brought along guys like LeSean McCoy and Brian Westbrook slowly; it wasn’t until their second seasons that they started posting really big numbers. Bell gives them to luxury to now start treating Edwards-Helaire more like McCoy and Westbrook.
I went back and watched most of Bell’s carries from this season. He’s 28, and I think he’s still got it. There was talk during training camp about Bell having trained hard and lost weight, and I think that’s true. He passes the eyeball test. He’s lean. He doesn’t look like an older guy who’s lost some speed. I saw a few plays where he was making guys miss and picking up 5-10 yards. A few other plays that were completely blown up, with Bell getting trapped in the backfield, but he can’t do it all on his own.
I expect this to now develop into a committee backfield. A week ago, I saw CEH as a top-10 back – a heavily-used started on one of the league’s best offenses. Now I see him as more of just a top-20 guy. Bell should see a good chunk of playing time, and there could be weeks where Bell finishes with better numbers or even becomes their starter at some point.
Bell possibly could be used more in goal-line situations. Edwards-Helaire has struggled on those plays, not scoring on any of his 9 goal-to-go carries this year.
Both backs are helped along by the pass-catching ability. That tends to be key in PPR formats.
With extensive use as a runner and a pass catcher, Bell when he was with the Steelers authored three of the top 15 seasons by running backs in the last 10 years. That’s using PPR scoring and looking at per-game production (among guys starting at least half of the year).
|TOP 30 RUNNING BACKS OF LAST 10 YEARS (PPR scoring)|
|2019||Christian McCaffrey, Car.||16||86.7||7.3||62.8||149.5||1.21||29.5|
|2018||Todd Gurley, LAR||14||89.4||4.2||41.4||130.8||1.57||26.7|
|2016||LeVeon Bell, Pitt.||12||105.7||6.3||51.3||157.0||.78||26.6|
|2016||David Johnson, Ariz.||16||77.4||5.0||54.9||132.4||1.27||25.9|
|2017||Todd Gurley, LAR||15||87.0||4.3||52.5||139.5||1.27||25.8|
|2013||Jamaal Charles, K.C.||15||85.8||4.7||46.2||132.0||1.27||25.5|
|2010||Arian Foster, Hou.||16||101.0||4.1||37.8||138.8||1.13||24.8|
|2018||Saquon Barkley, NYG||16||81.7||5.7||45.1||126.8||.96||24.1|
|2018||Christian McCaffrey, Car.||16||68.6||6.7||54.2||122.8||.85||24.1|
|2011||Arian Foster, Hou.||13||94.2||4.1||47.5||141.6||.92||23.8|
|2018||Alvin Kamara, N.O.||15||58.9||5.4||47.3||106.1||1.27||23.6|
|2011||Ray Rice, Balt.||16||85.3||4.8||44.0||129.3||.98||23.6|
|2014||LeVeon Bell, Pitt.||16||85.1||5.2||53.4||138.4||.69||23.2|
|2017||LeVeon Bell, Pitt.||15||86.1||5.7||43.7||129.7||.73||23.0|
|2018||Melvin Gordon, LAC||12||73.8||4.2||40.8||114.6||1.22||23.0|
|2015||Devonta Freeman, Atl.||13||77.9||5.1||39.6||117.5||1.00||22.8|
|2014||DeMarco Murray, Dall.||16||115.3||3.6||26.0||141.3||.81||22.6|
|2017||Alvin Kamara, N.O.||13||51.5||5.5||57.7||109.2||1.03||22.5|
|2018||Ezekiel Elliott, Dall.||15||95.6||5.1||37.8||133.4||.60||22.1|
|2011||LeSean McCoy, Phil.||15||87.3||3.2||21.0||108.3||1.33||22.0|
|2012||Adrian Peterson, Min.||16||131.1||2.5||13.6||144.6||.83||22.0|
|2014||Matt Forte, Chi.||16||64.9||6.4||50.5||115.4||.67||21.9|
|2018||James Conner, Pitt.||13||74.8||4.2||38.2||113.1||1.05||21.8|
|2016||Ezekiel Elliott, Dall.||15||108.7||2.1||24.2||132.9||1.07||21.8|
|2015||DeAngelo Williams, Pitt.||10||80.1||3.5||32.0||112.1||1.13||21.5|
|2013||Matt Forte, Chi.||16||83.7||4.6||37.1||120.8||.77||21.3|
|2014||Arian Foster, Hou.||13||95.8||2.9||25.2||121.0||1.05||21.3|
|2011||Fred Jackson, Buff.||10||93.4||3.9||44.2||137.6||.60||21.3|
|2019||Dalvin Cook, Min.||14||81.1||3.8||37.1||118.1||.93||21.2|
|2010||Darren McFadden, Oak.||13||89.0||3.6||39.0||128.0||.77||21.0|