Wide receiver will be one of the highest priorities for the Chicago Bears in the 2022 NFL Draft. While the Bears added two veteran receivers in free agency, neither are elite playmakers and are only under contract for a season.
David Bell, a wide receiver from Purdue, will be sure to catch the attention of the Bears’ front office in next week’s NFL Draft. If there’s one consensus about Bell from scouts, it’s that he models his craft after former Bear and current Los Angeles Rams receiver Allen Robinson.
Losing Robinson this off-season was a big blow to the wide receiver depth chart, as he lined up as both the x-receiver and in the slot. Bell also projects to bring this flexibility to the NFL, as he was used in both positions in college. Both Big Ten receivers have a similar frame at 6-foot-2 with Bell weighing in at 8 pounds lighter than Robinson. However, the Boilermaker will likely bulk up with professional conditioning once he gets into camp. Here’s a look at Bell’s draft profile following a successful collegiate career.
David Bell, WR, Purdue – 6’2″, 205 lbs
“Inside/outside target who is more smooth than sudden in uncovering over the first two levels of the field. Bell is like a crafty pitcher with a limited fastball but a variety of pitches to get hitters out. He wins with process over speed and has an ability to keep man coverage off-balance with rhythmic route-running and detailed footwork. While the tape has several elements to excite the viewer, the lack of functional explosiveness, speed and change of direction he showed at the NFL Scouting Combine simply can’t be ignored. He’s a willing worker in the middle of the field and has a savvy element to his game, but he’ll have to prove he’s better than his testing suggested as a Day 3 prospect.”
Bell made the most of his targets in big games in 2021, with receiving yards totaling 240 against then-undefeated Iowa and 214 against Michigan State. He also scored 103 yards versus Ohio State during a Junior campaign that saw him catch 93 balls for 1,286 yards. Bell’s skill to get open and find the football would be a big help for second-year quarterback Justin Fields.
Bell has a few traits to polish up for the NFL, per Zierlein, as he can be off-balance when running his routes. He also needs to be assertive when going for deep balls in coverage and could be faster after making the reception.
This isn’t anything Bears fans didn’t see with Robinson, who despite what Pro Football Focus would like to suggest, dropped numerous balls, albeit down the field that were contested. If Bell can come into Halas Hall with a better attitude about being in Chicago than Robinson had towards the end of his tenure, the Bears might find themselves a better receiver.
Film highlights show Bell consistently using his big frame to his advantage, securing 50-50 balls against smaller defenders, and a knack for fighting for extra yards after the reception. The Purdue product also has a nose for the endzone, scoring 21 touchdowns in his three seasons with the Boilermakers.
Here’s the film on Bell:
According to NFL Mock Draft Database, Bell is projected as a Day 2 pick, ranked 69th overall with a 3rd round grade.
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