WR David Bell, Purdue*

6’2” – 205 lbs.

Background:

Has been a major contributor since first arriving, posting a whopping 86-1,035-7 (12.0) in a freshman season which included nine starts. Followed that up with 53-625-8 (11.8) in the abridged 2020 season, then put together his most productive year as a junior (93-1,286-6, 13.8) before declaring for the draft.

Positives:

One of the most productive receivers in college football over the past few years. Very well-built split end who should meet virtually every team’s size requirements; also took the occasional snap as a slot receiver. Efficient releases at the line without too much excess movement; wins inside positioning well and can shield defenders from the ball. Smooth movement skills and nice flexibility overall. Knows how to change speeds and keep defenders off-balance; dresses up his deep routes with stutter-steps, head fakes, and speed changes. Shows some ability to improvise and get open when the play breaks down. Big target who can adjust to and pluck balls thrown away his frame. Very nice tracking and body control down the field. Can maintain concentration through contact and make catches in tight coverage to reward his quarterback. Able to draw flags downfield. Physical with the ball in his hands, lowering the shoulder to pick up yardage after contact.

Negatives:

Takes the vast majority of his snaps on the right side of the offense; would like to see footwork from the other side. A lot of his routes are relatively simple curls, out routes, hitches, etc. Smoother than he is explosive; might struggle to win deep at the next level, and college cornerbacks often sat on underneath routes, not feeling threatened by his speed. Will settle into some zone coverages. Might require a quarterback willing to trust him to come down with catches when covered. Some double-catching at times. Gives adequate effort as a blocker, but falls off of some blocks due to just adequate contact balance and positioning and doesn’t always successfully line up a target when stalking.

Summary:

A big, flexible, and productive receiver who releases well at the line of scrimmage and shows the body control, concentration, and toughness to come down with difficult throws in coverage, he has the look of a potential split-end starter, although it would have been nice to see him run a somewhat wider range of routes at the college level, and it’s not clear whether he has the raw speed to create separation down the field against man coverage. Should go no later than the second round or so.

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