Who is David Bell, and just how much can he produce in his rookie season for the Browns?
Even with the struggles the Cleveland Browns had at the quarterback position last year, it was clear they also needed help in their wide receiver room. From letting Odell Beckham, Jr. go during the season — who would eventually win a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams — to not bringing back wide receiver Jarvis Landry this year, the Browns clearly are in need of some reinforcements.
Enter Amari Cooper, a standout receiver in the NFL who some like to refer to as the “best route runner in the league”. Outside of Cooper, they were left with Donovan Peoples-Jones, Anthony Schwartz, and newly acquired Jakeem Grant, who is more likely to help out on special teams in the return game than in the receiver room.
To get more help, the Browns decided to turn to the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft and select Purdue receiver David Bell with the 99th overall pick. Who is he exactly, and just how much production can we expect from him in his rookie campaign?
Bell stands at 6-foot-1 and 212 pounds, and ran a 4.65 40-yard dash at the Combine. While Bell might not the quickest rookie receiver or the most flashy, the value in this pick seems to be great, as well as the potential.
A first-team AP All-American, Big Ten Conference receiver of the year as well as a Biletnikoff award finalist, Bell was scouted as a smooth, solid route running receiver who can provide value in multiple ways, being able to produce from both out wide and in the slot. He put up some monster numbers in college, having an impressive freshman season with over 1,000 yards receiving to go along with seven touchdowns. In his last season at Purdue, Bell totaled 1,286 yards with six touchdowns.
Reported by both NFL Network and Bleacher Report, here are a few pros and cons the receiver is bringing into the league:
- Bell is able to play outside the numbers or in the slot, enabling him to find softer spots in zone coverage
- Solid-body control
- Solid ability to create yards after catch. While the speed numbers may not jump off the page, Bell has the ability to get up-field in a hurry
- Has a tendency to push off of defenders, something that tends to be flagged more so in the NFL than in college
- Not the fastest receiver in the world
When drafting Bell, I don’t think the Browns intended on him one day elevating to the level of a standout No. 1 receiver. If Bell is able to produce as a solid No. 2 or 3 behind guys like Cooper and Peoples-Jones, the Browns will be very pleased.
So far in the limited reps they have had in minicamps, Bell and new quarterback Deshaun Watson have seemingly been establishing a very strong connection, as Camryn Justice of WEWS reports that Bell and Watson are locker mates.
While we still don’t know when exactly Watson will take the field for the first time in a Browns uniform, we know we will get to see some of Bell right from the jump. Whether it is Watson or Jacoby Brissett, look for Bell to make a name for himself from the beginning and show the organization in Cleveland it was a 3rd round pick well spent.