Arizona running back Mike Bell's sole formal interview at the NFL Combine was with Tony Dungy and the Indianapolis Colts. The Vikings, Broncos, Falcons, Steelers and Browns have also been talking to Bell's agent about their interest in him. In our Q&A with him, Bell talks about his blocking ability, his Combine experience and much more.
Q: I was looking at a lot of different comments about you, and I think the diversity is really startling. You've got a good reputation as an inside power runner, getting the tough yards for the first-down. Is that something you think you can bring to an NFL team?
MB: Oh definitely, definitely. A lot of the time my team used me in situations like that. So I know with my weight and skills I could do that at the next level.
Q: You actually added about 10 pounds of muscle weight heading into your senior year just so you could handle that inside pounding better, didn't you?
MB: Yeah. I knew my team was going to count on me a little bit more running the ball because we didn't have the experience of a veteran quarterback, so I knew that I was going to take a pounding. So I prepared myself for the situation and put on some extra weight.
Q: Now I know you're a good receiver, especially handling the screen pass and coming out on the swing passes. Did you have a lot of experience in your high school career as well handling the ball?
MB: Yeah, I played almost every position in high school. I played quarterback, running back, and receiver. So I think I have the ability to do a lot of things on offense.
Q: There are so many running backs who are in this draft that I would say are really just average or sub-par when it comes to blocking. And yet, one thing I saw with you that I think really speaks to your versatility is this quote: "Shows good aggression as a blocker." Do you think that's a fair statement?
MB: Yeah, I think I'm pretty aggressive when it comes to blocking. That's my opportunity to go hit somebody, so I'll take advantage of that when I get a chance.
Q: I also saw another comment where someone said you work well in space. You seem to have good recognition when you are standing there and trying to size up who's coming at you, what angle they're coming from. Is that something your coaches at Arizona really stressed for the running backs or is that something you pursued as a skill you saw was important to become a well-rounded back?
MB: I think it's the coaching at Arizona. Our running backs coach prepared us for the fact that we might have to block anybody on the field whether it might be a defensive tackle or a defensive end or a linebacker, so we learned to always be ready.
Q: What did you gain from your Senior Bowl experience, and how much do you think that helped you?
MB: It was a really good experience. I got to see some of the best players in the country. It was a great opportunity for me just to be around that level of competition. I don't know if it helped me or hurt me, but I know it was a good experience to prepare me for the next level to be around such great athletes.
Q: Let's shift gears to the Combine. What was that like for you personally?
MB: Being at the Combine was definitely an eye-opening experience because being at Arizona, I wasn't used to that kind of exposure. It was a big-time blessing and I was excited about being one of the running backs selected to go.
Q: What was the hardest part about the experience for you?
MB: The time change since it was a three-hour time difference. Just waking up, and all the rushing, and the meetings. Everything was just so demanding that you had to be ready to go at all times.
Q: What was it that you wanted to make sure that coaches and general managers knew about you during interviews?
MB: That I'm a competitor and I can play football, and I'm a good person as well.
Q: Let's talk about that word "competitor" because that can have a dual meaning. Are you the kind that is seething out there on the field because you've got to win, or is it more of that desire that eats at you and drives you to be better?
MB: It's the desire that eats at me to get better. If you look at my situation for the past five years at Arizona, you have to be a competitor out there. We didn't win a lot of games, there was no continuity out there. For anybody to go out there for five years shows just what a competitor I am. It was the desire and my love for football that kept me going and that's will keep me going.
Q: How do you feel your Pro Day went?
MB: I did everything there. I basically repeated everything I did at the Combine just to see if I could improve. And I improved on pretty much everything that I wanted to.
Q: Did you feel that was a risk doing everything again? Or were you looking at it as an opportunity?
MB: I think that because of my competitive attitude, I just felt I had to do everything. I had the mindset that I was going to succeed, so I had nothing to hide.
Vikings Communicate Interest in Another RB
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