David Bell Draft Profile
Football takes up most of the thoughts going on in my head. I love football… I have dedicated my life to the game. My favorite part about football is falling in love with draft prospects, particularly overlooked ones, and seeing them blossom into the players I think they can be. It is the most beautiful part of the game and the reason I love this sport so much. I have seen it happen time and time again starting with Russell Wilson, then Tyrann Mathieu and Odell Beckham Jr., or if we want to go more recently— Justin Jefferson and Micah Parsons. This year, one of my favorite evaluations thus far is Purdue wide receiver, David Bell. While I have had a hard time finding a lot of film on the 6’1 212 lb. receiver, I have loved everything I’ve seen from him. I think he is better than advertised and going to make an impact immediately once he is in the NFL.
One of my favorite things to look for in receivers is their ability to make uncomfortable catches. David Bell can make contorted, off-schedule catches better than any receiver in this year’s draft. Whether it be back shoulder catches, passes that are behind him, or plays where he has to go up and get it— Bell is coming down with the football. His ability to make “off-kilter” catches is going to make him an asset in the NFL. At the line, his releases are gnarly— defenders can’t get their hands on him. When Bell is at the top of his routes, he does a great job at putting a move on his defender. Defensive backs have to guess where he is going, and more often than not they guess wrong. My favorite thing that Bell does at the top of his routes is use his hands to gain separation. He slaps defenders out of the way and always wins the “hand fight” throughout his routes. Bell is a tough receiver, and while he may not be the fastest guy, he knows how to get yards after the catch. Bell can reach a second gear once the ball is in his hands, his acceleration has been overlooked throughout the draft process. When the Ball is over thrown, his acceleration comes out— he does a phenomenal job at tracking the football. David Bell is one of my favorite prospects in this year’s draft.
The biggest knock on David Bell throughout the draft process has been his speed. He ran a 4.65 40-yard dash at the combine and there are some times where he looks slow on tape. In the games I watched, there are some routes where it looks like he was jogging. On plays that aren’t going to his side or aren’t intended to go to him, he looks lazy or like he is “half-assing” it. When he’s running routes, there are some cuts that he could hit harder and sell better. The thing with Bell is that the speed is in him, I see it come out after the catch, he just needs to harness it better. If he can unleash his speed before the catch, he is going to be a really good NFL player.
If you guys couldn’t tell, I have a huge draft crush on David Bell. I believe he has a ton of untapped potential in him, and a team like the Bears could bring that out of him. He is going to be a third-round pick, but if I was a general manager I would be tempted to reach on him in the second round. The Bears need a true number one receiver, but they don’t have a first-round pick. Bell is a sleeper receiver that the Bears could snag on day two and be Justin Field’s lead guy. I could also see him staying in Indiana and lining up next to Michael Pittman Jr. The Cardinals could also use a receiver as reliable as Bell. For a pro comparison, Bell reminds me a lot of Cooper Kupp when he was coming out of Eastern Washington; another player who I saw a lot of untapped potential in. He is one of the biggest sleepers in this year’s draft.
Ability to Separate: 7.75/10
Release/Top of Routes: 7.25/8
Route Running: 5/8
Contested Catch: 7.75/8
Hands + Catch Radius: 7.5/8
Speed + Control: 5/7
Natural Talent: 3/5
Final Rating: 81
Pro Comparison: Cooper Kupp (coming out of Eastern Washington)
Team Fits: Bears, Colts, Cardinals
Draft Grade: Late Second Round
Draft Projection: Late Third Round