(Editor's Note: Heading into the upcoming NFL Draft, held April 25-27, DallasCowboys.com will take a closer look at the prospects, including some that could be potential fits with the Cowboys. Today's featured player is Michigan State running back Le'Veon Bell).
College: Michigan State
Age:21 (born Feb. 18, 1992)
Honors:Bell became the first Spartan since 1990 to win the Big Ten rushing title in 2012 with 1,793 yards. For his efforts, he was named first-team All-Big 10 by both coaches and media. He was a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award, and he won the College Football Performance Awards Elite Running Back Trophy.
Key stat:The durability of DeMarco Murray is always something that gets brought up when discussing the Dallas running game. Bell has certainly proven he can take a pounding, as he led the nation with 382 carries last season. Bell managed 671 carries in a three-year career, which averages out to 17 attempts a game in that stretch. The vast majority of that work came last year, when he averaged an astounding 29 carries per game.
Where He's Headed:Bell basically was the Michigan State offense last year, but it's doubtful his skills translate to such a large role at the next level. His Combine 40-yard dash time of 4.60 was better than expected, but it's hardly breakaway speed. Still, Bell's size and power make him an enticing option as a potential goal line or power back, probably selected in the mid to late rounds. [embedded_ad]
How He Helps the Cowboys:As mentioned above, it'd be nice to have some depth in case Murray's injury problems persist. A back as big as Bell could also give the Cowboys some extra push in short yardage situations, where they struggled last year. If the team gets better play from its interior line, sending Bell up the gut could be a hard play to stop.
*Scout's Take: *Usually lined up as a single or one back in the Spartans' scheme. … Will turn it up the field with the ball in his hands and can slash through the hole. … Will lower his shoulder and take on tackler at point. … Very patient runner, who will allow his blocks to develop, then make his decision. … Does a nice job of working in and out of the hole. … Feet are better than you would think for his size. … Is always going forward with the ball in his hands and keeps his legs moving. … Is not a breakaway back, but more steady and pounding. … One of his best traits besides his size is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. … Similar to DeMarco Murray in the way he was used in college as a receiver. … Coaches will motion him out of the backfield or put him in the slot and he can catch the ball in space or in traffic without problem. … If he has a weakness other than home run speed it's his ability as a pass blocker. Understands what he has to do scheme-wise to help, but tends to cut instead of taking on the rusher square. Needs to learn how to stay on his feet to handle this job. – Bryan Broaddus