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Friday, April 26, 2013
Steelers may have landed their starting back

By Jamison Hensley

The Pittsburgh Steelers landed their running back in the second round, but it wasn't the one many expected. The Steelers used the 48th overall pick on Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell and not Alabama's Eddie Lacy, who had been considered the top back in the draft.

The addition of Bell could mean the Steelers found their running back for the future and might end the team's interest in free agent Ahmad Bradshaw.

While the knock on Bell is that he's not as physical as his size indicates (6-foot-1, 230 pounds), Bell gained 921 yards after contact in 2012, most among players from AQ schools, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Bell gained more than 50 percent of his yards after contact and averaged 2.4 yards after contact per rush. Last season, he rushed for 1,793 yards and 12 touchdowns.

The Steelers are trying to revamp their running game after Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman didn't get the job done last season. Pittsburgh rushed for 3.5 yards between the tackles last season, one full yard less than 2011.

Before the second round began, the Steelers reached an agreement with speedy LaRod Stephens-Howling, a free agent from the Arizona Cardinals.

The AFC North is having a run on running backs. Cincinnati took the first back of the draft, selecting North Carolina's Giovani Bernard at No. 37. Pittsburgh selected the second back of the draft 11 picks later.