With the 99th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns gave David Bell a new home. The Browns didn’t get their rookie receiver as early in the draft as some fans may have hoped, but this selection should definitely not disappoint The Dawg Pound.
Having put up 22 touchdowns and nearly 3,000 yards in just 19 games with the Boilermakers, the rookie receiver from Purdue has proven himself to be a serious threat in the passing game. Andrew Berry and the Browns clearly felt that he showed enough potential at the college level to select him in the third round of the draft.
The Indianapolis-raised receiver has phenomenal hands, having just a 4.7% drop rate in his three-year career with Purdue. Standing at 6-2, 205 pounds, there aren’t many receivers with better size than Bell. The consensus first-team All-American is very good at using his size to create space for himself and winning fights for the football in the air. Bell is also an above-average route runner that torched Big Ten defenses all year long. However, like every rookie, the 2021 Big Ten Wide Receiver of the Year comes with his fair share of concerns.
For starters, Bell does not seem to have the speed or athleticism to be successful running deep routes in the NFL. Running a 4.65 40-yard dash time, his speed, or lack thereof, is certainly one of the bigger weaknesses in his game. Luckily, with Donovan Peoples-Jones and Anthony Schwartz on the team, it is very unlikely that coach Kevin Stefanski expects Bell to be a deep threat for new quarterback Deshaun Watson.
After losing Rashard Higgins to the Panthers in free agency, it seems that David Bell may slide into his role right away as a rookie. Higgins and Bell share multiple similarities, not just their size. They both lack explosive speed but make up for it with their ability to catch seemingly every ball thrown their way. At just 21 years old, Bell has plenty of room to grow and has a much higher ceiling than Higgins. Even with the possibility of bringing Jarvis Landry back, David Bell looks like he should be a day one starter for the Browns. A receiving core of Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, David Njoku, and David Bell is sure to do some real damage with superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson running the offense. Now, it’s time to ask the question: How much can David Bell truly bring to this offense?
*This article was posted by a student from Solon High School doing his Senior Project with Cleveland Sports Talk*