Too early to evaluate RB draft picks

PITTSBURGH -- It is only natural to compare Le'Veon Bell and Eddie Lacy since the two rookies will be the feature backs at Lambeau Field on Sunday when the Pittsburgh Steelers visit the Green Bay Packers.

And with five running backs taken in the 2013 NFL draft, it's a tough competition as to which teams made the best picks.

Lacy has clearly raced ahead of the pack.

And he should win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, especially considering that the former Alabama star has continued to put up big numbers despite the absence of Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

But Bell and Giovani Bernard, the first running back taken in the draft, have also established themselves as No. 1-caliber backs even if the latter shares time with BenJarvus Green-Ellis in Cincinnati.

Bell has been more workmanlike as a runner, as he has averaged just 3.3 yards per carry. But the 6-foot-1, 244-pounder also missed a significant amount of preseason practice as well as the first three games of the season because of knee and foot injuries.

Bell is still adjusting to the speed of the NFL, and the Steelers are already excited about the all-around skills that have allowed him to become the team’s fourth-leading receiver despite not playing in his first game until late September.

"I think he’s a foundation back, I really do," former NFL scout and ESPN analyst Matt Williamson said of Bell. "He does everything well and is going to get better and better. He’s going to be a big part of the future."

The future will also determine if the Steelers made the right choice in picking Bell over Lacy. Right now it is simply too early to tell.