In the third round, the Cleveland Browns selected Purdue receiver David Bell with the 99th pick.
The Browns are looking at a revamped receiver room, having lost previous starters in Odell Beckham, Jr. and Jarvis Landry.
In the offseason, the Browns added Bell through the draft, as well as Amari Cooper via free agency.
They join Donovan Peoples-Jones as likely top-end receiving talent heading into 2022-23.
That’s right, Bell has the tools to take off right away.
But what exactly does he provide?
And what can fans expect from the third-rounder?
Throughout the pre-draft process, Bell earned strong reviews from scouts.
Browns' WR David Bell Could Be NFL's Middle-Round Rookie Breakout Star https://t.co/0CLR6Io0pi #NFLDraft #Football #NFL
— SportNewsBuzz (@Sportnewsbuzz) May 20, 2022
He was never spoken of in the same vein as tier one catchers in Drake London, Garrett Wilson, and Chris Olave, but plenty of scouts were high on Bell.
Here’s what The Ringer’s Danny Kelly had to say about Bell’s game:
“Bell is capable of playing outside and in the slot, and was featured both downfield and on screens and short-area routes. He uses his quick feet and a variety of releases to get off the line and into his route.”
Much of the same was echoed by college scouts from Bleacher Report:
“David Bell is a good-sized WR who can align inside and out in an offensive formation. He wins with his strength and body control, but he has enough athleticism to win on vertical routes and threaten cornerbacks just enough with his long speed.”
And Tony Pauline from Pro Football Network lauded Bell’s vision and after-the-catch decision-making:
“Quickly transitions upfield after the catch and displays outstanding short-area quickness. Stays low exiting breaks, uses his frame to shield away defenders, and positions himself to make the catch.”
While Bell likely won’t fool many tight man coverages, he may not always have to.
Most defenses will line up their best corners against WR1 Cooper and downfield burner Donovan Peoples-Jones.
That leaves space for Bell to carve out a solid roll in the slot.
Bell might just be uniquely suited to succeed in this offense.
In fact, head coach Kevin Stefanski certainly thinks so:
“You can ask [Andrew Berry]. I was like, ‘This day needs to end with David Bell on our team.’ Just your ability to catch the ball, which I think is the best in the draft, your ability to get open and just who you are as a person, that fits who we are.”
Of course, no head coach is going to come out sour on a new draft pick.
#Browns coach Kevin Stefanski really believes in David Bell, and the rookie wide receiver aims to reward trust https://t.co/fsgCqUpSu8
— Nate Ulrich (@ByNateUlrich) May 16, 2022
But if Stefanski is telling the truth, his faith in Bell should only bolster the rookie’s confidence heading into OTAs.
One name constantly linked to Bell in the scouting process is a familiar one to Browns fans: Jarvis Landry.
Teams were likely a little weary of the LSU product over concerns with his athleticism.
For instance, Landry ran (walked?) an anemic 4.77 40-yard dash on his way to earning a .27 athletic score (on a scale of 0-10), per PFN’s Kent Lee Platte.
Bell’s athleticism wasn’t that poorly scored, but he did run the second-slowest 40 time across all receivers (4.65).
Let’s hope Bell, like Landry, will quickly put those athletic concerns in the rearview mirror.
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