New York Jets: Le’Veon Bell could easily lead AFC in rushing

Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers. New York Jets. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers. New York Jets. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

While the beginning of the New York Jets training camp gets closer with each day, top free agency addition Le’Veon Bell has the potential to be the best running back in the AFC once again.

After signing a massive 4-year $52 million contract, the former Pittsburgh Steeler looks to make an impact with the New York Jets. At just 27 years old, Le’Veon Bell is still amid his prime as he seeks to regain his status as the best running back in the AFC. He arguably held this title from 2014-2017, making 3 Pro Bowls and being selected to the First-Team All-Pro twice.

His pathway to reclaiming his throne is much easier than it has been in recent years. Only three AFC running backs topped 1,000 rushing yards in 2018. (Joe Mixon, Derrick Henry, and Phillip Lindsay) While others came close like Nick Chubb and Bell’s former teammate James Conner, the stage is still set for Le’Veon to dominate.

The former Michigan State standout will undoubtedly be given multiple opportunities to create like only he does, without any legitimate competition for the starting spot on the Jets. Offseason addition Ty Montgomery and returning veteran Bilal Powell will likely be competing for a backup position, leaving the bulk of the carries to Bell.

Jets head coach Adam Gase was extremely complimentary of Bell when he spoke with reporters following New York’s mandatory minicamp earlier this offseason.

"“I thought he did a good job,” Gase said of Bell. “I mean he jumped right in there, he wants to get as many reps as he can. He’s trying to pick up the terminology and get up to date as fast as possible. It’s hard to cram it all in in a short time, but he’s done a good job asking the right questions.”"

"“He was talking about, ‘Hey if that guy’s going to fit it like that then we need to keep the ball front-side and that’s going to be a crease.’” Gase said of Bell. “Just things like that. It’s normal for most running backs that you would stand back there and watch a play with. It was just kind of good that while I wasn’t asking him questions like that, I was just listening to what he was saying, and it was just kind of cool listening to him talk about how he was seeing things.”"

Another way that Bell can maximize his talents for the Jets is through Sam Darnold. The 22-year old quarterback had an impressive rookie season although he did struggle with turnovers, finishing with 17 touchdowns compared to 15 interceptions. His interceptions should almost certainly decrease now that the Jets signed Bell, whose ability in the passing game is seriously underrated. He should be a reliable check down option for Darnold whenever the pocket collapses too quickly.

Next. Jamison Crowder will be a productive option for the New York Jets. dark

While there are legitimate questions about the offensive line and Bell’s complacency within the offense, it’s easy to see him becoming the top running back in the AFC. He could end the season leading the Jets to a playoff berth.