(Editor's Note: With the offseason in full swing, the focus is now shifting to the 2016 season, where the Cowboys have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. Not only do the Cowboys face five playoff teams but many of the top players in football. So the writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys. Today, we continue the list with Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell.)
Position: Running Back
2016 vs. Cowboys: Bell and the Steelers will welcome the Cowboys to Heinz Field on Nov. 13, for an afternoon showdown – almost exactly one full year after Bell underwent season-ending surgery on his knee on Nov. 6, 2015.
What's the Deal:The 2014 Pro Bowler was on pace for another 1,000-plus yard season when he tore his MCL and PCL in a Week 8 loss to Cincinnati. He missed the remainder of the Steelers' season, including their playoff run. As recently as this week, though, Bell has said he expects to be 100 percent ready for training camp and stronger than ever. If that's the case, the Steelers will regain a key component of one of the league's best offenses.
Expect This:With Bell in the lineup, the Steelers have a Pro Bowl caliber running back to go with their Pro Bowl quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and their Pro Bowl receiver Antonio Brown. If everyone is healthy and ready to go, this matchup should feature two of the best sets of skill players in the NFL going at each other. Bell has averaged 4.8 yards per carry during the last two years of his career, and that could be trouble for a Dallas defensive front that finished ranked 22nd against the run last fall.
Previous Meetings:Pittsburgh drafted Bell in 2013, just six months after the Steelers lost to the Cowboys during the 2012 season. As a result, Bell has yet to play against Dallas to this point in his career. In recent years, the Steelers have a 2-1 advantage, having won games in 2004 and 2008 before the Cowboys' win in 2012. Of note, the two clubs have famously faced off in three different Super Bowls – Super Bowl X, Super Bowl XIII and Super Bowl XXX.
Bryan Broaddus Scouting Report:
- Bell gets his production as a downhill runner who breaks tackles. Easily runs through arm tackles. Finishes runs – doesn't look to go out of bounds.
- Work horse type back who is patient, waits for a crease, and slams through it. A north-south runner. Long strider. Thick hips and thighs. Runs with power and athletic ability.
- Good foot agility. Keeps his legs moving on contact. Can work in and out of the hole. Surprises you with how nimble he is.
- Soft hands and the ability to catch all pass routes. Good eye/hand coordination. Catches the ball well. Doesn't fight it at all. Very natural. He has a feel for how to work himself open. Effective blocker in pass protection. Not afraid to step up and take on the blitzer. There are times where he will cut block.
- Lacks long finish speed. Is not going to run away from many defenders. Takes him time to get going. His vision is outstanding. Sees things well. Not afraid to try and cut the ball back. Physical style wears tacklers down.
- Steady and consistent throughout the game. Doesn't appear to slow down. Takes a lot of hits but delivers the punishment as well.
The writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys.