At the beginning of April, I wrote a little something about Beau Bell, then a linebacker for UNLV, making a pre-draft visit to the Browns. He was on Phil Savage’s radar for quite some time, and to make sure he was the Browns’ guy, Savage traded the team’s 122nd overall pick and their fifth-round pick (155th overall) to the Dallas Cowboys for the 104th overall pick. What the Browns are getting is an inside linebacker prospect, described by Savage as a “powerful tackler.” He is listed at 6-1, 239 pounds and was named the 2007 Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
The one knock on Bell is his slight injury history, which certainly kept some teams wary of him. He had a groin injury during his sophomore season, and a left ankle sprain that ended his junior season early. However, his senior season was one to remember, and he finished his career at UNLV with 323 total tackles and 10.5 sacks. Despite his medical history, Bell was able to solidify himself as one of the top inside linebackers in the draft. That was enough to convince Savage to move up and secure his services.
Bell is a hard-nosed, gutsy player that will give it his all on every down. At the very least, he is expected to make a contribution on special teams, but there is no reason why he cannot begin to challenge for a spot in the inside linebacker rotation that includes Andra Davis, D’Qwell Jackson, and Leon Williams. With the decrease in production from Davis and the overall mediocrity of the position, Bell should be able to make an impact sooner rather than later, especially with his presence against the run. It should be beneficial for him to learn under Davis for a season, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bell playing more and more as the season progresses.
It really is hard to argue with this pick, even with his injury history. In the continued efforts to improve the defense, the linebacker corps remained a particular area of concern and it was worth it to take a chance with such a motivated player. Eric Wright was a solid pick from UNLV, so let’s hope the trend continues.