INDIANAPOLIS — David Bell never wanted it to outright be this way. At the beginning of 2021, Bell was mocked with consistency in the first round. As the process and season went through its ebbs and flows, Bell’s stock started to drop. For a guy who was once thought of as a potential contender to be the top receiver in the draft fell into the day two conversation.
Unfortunately, for Bell, a 4.65-second 40-yard dash and 9-foot-10 board jump will do nothing to help assuage those concerns. His athleticism on all levels was not up to the standard of this extremely fast receiver class. Those fast receivers stole the spotlight on Thursday night while Bell was cast upon in a dark light.
However, there is a positive light to all of this. Bell’s tape speaks for itself. A powerful, gritty player, Bell is willing to make the tough combat catches needed to win at the next level. Not only that, his physicality and ability to get tough yards after the catch with his leg drive, strength, and relentlessness are unique qualities. He could play outside to a degree, but Bell has all the makings of a tough big slot receiver.
In a league that is condensing sets, Bell’s high-level blocking will be an asset. Teams will look at Bell and despite his testing, take a chance on him because of his impressive tape. Still, the measurements and traits on tape conjure up memories of someone Steelers fans know very well — JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Smith-Schuster’s height, weight, and explosive testing is almost dead aim equal to what Bell brought to Indianapolis. They differ in speed, but this is a physical profile that makes sense. More importantly, stylistically on the football field, these two players have similar defining traits. They are primarily contested-catch guys, they are tough, and they are mostly big slot receivers. The numbers are not dissimilar by any means.
|David Bell||JuJu Smith-Schuster|
|Weight||213 lbs||215 lbs|
If Smith-Schuster walks in free agency, Bell could be an option to replace him in the slot. While the 40-time for Bell is worrying, it is possible that with his skill set and high-level tape, he can overcome the odds. The similarities here are plentiful, and Bell’s traits will likely still get him drafted in the Top-100.