Browns: David Bell was excellent against man coverage as a rookie
By Randy Gurzi
David Bell didn’t get a ton of opportunities during his rookie season but when he was on the field for the Browns, he handled man coverage with ease
David Bell was a production machine while with the Purdue Boilermakers which led to some unreal expectations for him as a rookie with the Cleveland Browns.
During his collegiate days, he had 2,946 yards and 21 touchdowns in 29 career games. However, he slid into Round 3 following a less-than-stellar combine performance that included a 4.65 time in the 40-yard dash.
Even with his drop and poor testing, Cleveland fans were ready for him to be a huge factor as a slot receiver, even though this wasn’t something he did a lot at Purdue. What should have been expected was exactly what we saw — Bell took some time to adjust to the slot and ended up with modest numbers as a rookie.
He finished with just 24 receptions for 214 yards but again, this is what should have been expected. Bell was learning the ropes and getting his feet wet as a pro. And the good news is, he showed out in one specific area — lining up in man coverage.
Bell came in fourth place among other rookies when it came to getting open against man coverage, with just Khalil Shakir, Garrett Wilson, and Skyy Moore ahead of him.
Looking forward to 2023, he’s now got a full season under his belt and should be able to take a step forward. He will also have more experience working with Deshaun Watson, who will be the starter from Week 1.
Bell will continue to get looks in the slot and that will mean more single coverage in 2023. He’s never going to be the top player as we saw at Purdue but he doesn’t need to be. Keep beating man coverage and he will be doing exactly what Cleveland expects of him.