clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Steelers trades: Kendrell Bell earns Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2001

New, comments

After moving down to take Casey Hampton, the Steelers moved up to take 2001 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Kendrell Bell.

With the annual NFL Draft on the horizon, it brings to mind some maneuvering that paid huge dividends for all involved, while others just didn't pan out for any teams or the players who were traded.

PITTSBURGH -- Sure, the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to trade down and still were able to get future D-line anchor Casey Hampton with the 19th overall pick in the first round during the 2001 NFL Draft.

However, to get the guy they wanted in the second round, the Steelers moved up by sending their second- and fourth-round selections to the New England Patriots for their spot at No. 39. And with that pick, the Steelers selected Georgia linebacker Kendrell Bell. The 6-foot-1, 245-pound powerhouse spent the 2001-04 seasons with the Steelers and 2005-07 with the Kansas City Chiefs before retiring from the NFL after various injuries limited his production.

The Patriots used both those picks in trades to get more selections in 2001. They sent the second-round pick, No. 50 overall, to the Detroit Lions. And they selected center Dominic Raiola from Nebraska. The fourth-round pick, No. 112 overall, went to the San Diego Chargers. And they got outside linebacker Carlos Polk from Nebraska. Both lasted longer than Bell in the NFL.

During his time with the Steelers, Bell displayed tremendous strength and explosiveness from an inside linebacker spot. He was the AFC rookie of the year in 2001 and started all 16 games. He tallied 83 total tackles, including 70 solo stops, nine sacks and a forced fumble. He missed four games in 2002 and was limited to 50 tackles, 37 solo, and four sacks. He had a big comeback season in 2003 with 99 total tackles, including 80 solo stops, five sacks, three pass breakups, an interception and a forced fumble. He played just three games for the Steelers in 2004 due to injuries and moved on to Kansas City the next year.

In three seasons with the Chiefs, Bell played in every game and started 14 each during the 2005-06 seasons. But his totals those years combined didn't equal either of his top Steelers seasons. In 2007, Bell's final year in the NFL, he played in just 11 games with no starts and didn't even average a tackle a game. He had no sacks that year and just 2.5 in three years with the Chiefs.

Raiola has played all 13 of his NFL seasons for the Lions and started 188 of 204 games at center. The Honolulu native played all 16 games as a rookie in 2001 with no starts and missed four games in 2008, but started all 12 that he played. So, Raiola started every game he played for Detroit from 2002-2013. He was a consensus All-American and Rimington Trophy winner as the nation's best center at Nebraska, but despite his steadiness never made the Pro Bowl.

The 6-2, 262-pound Polk spent 2001-07 with the Chargers and played for the Dallas Cowboys in 2008, his final season in the NFL. He made just six starts in 74 career games, but was a decent backup and special teams performer for the majority of his NFL tenure.

The Patriots took Georgia defensive lineman Richard Seymour with their eighth overall pick in the first round, but they moved up and down the rest of the way. They moved up to No. 48 with the Lions' pick in the second round to get left offensive tackle Matt Light and added Notre Dame cornerback Brock Williams in the third round with a pick from the Minnesota Vikings.

The Chargers' pick was the first one in the fourth round, No. 96, and got offensive tackle Kenyatta Jones from South Florida and with the Vikings pick at No. 119 in the fourth round they selected Notre Dame tight end Jabari Holloway. The Lions also threw in No. 180 in the sixth round and No. 216 in the seventh. And the Pats picked tight end Arthur Love from South Carolina State and place-kicker Owen Pochman from BYU, respectively.