Outside of new acquisition Amari Cooper, who will be a big help to them, the Cleveland Browns have some question marks at the wide receiver position.
They will need at least one of their young wideouts to emerge as a reliable option if they’re to have a real shot at returning to the NFL playoffs.
One of those young wideouts is David Bell, who was taken by the Browns with the 99th pick in this April’s draft.
Chad O’Shea, the team’s pass game coordinator and wide receivers coach, had some very complimentary things to say about Bell’s potential while on a recent edition of “Browns Breakdowns.”
In particular, there were two attributes O’Shea singled out that could help Bell succeed at the NFL level and help Cleveland right away.
What good is a wide receiver who runs routes well and has great downfield speed if he has bad hands or tends to drop catchable passes?
O’Shea feels Bell not only has good hands but also the ability to catch passes that are either contested or are a bit off the mark.
While at Purdue University, he gradually increased his catch percentage, which peaked at 69.0 this past season.
The Browns’ wideout coach loves how Bell can make receptions in traffic, even when he is covered tightly by a defensive back.
It’s a trait that can help him make some big plays, especially in third-down situations.
— Matt Wilson (@CoachWilson66) May 2, 2022
— DF SPORTS (@DF_SPORTS_) May 2, 2022
On “Browns Breakdowns,” O’Shea also touted how Bell how can extend his hands and arms out into space to make catches while maintaining the body control needed to secure a reception and prevent a miscue.
In 2021 at Purdue, he tallied 1,286 receiving yards and six touchdowns, and he was named to the All-Big Ten first team in both of the last two seasons.
Bell also won the Richter–Howard Receiver of the Year award in 2021, which is given to the best wide receiver in the Big Ten each season.
Adding Yards After The Catch
The truly standout wideouts at every level, especially in the NFL, not only make tough catches, but they also add additional yardage and turn what may seem like a routine reception into a big yardage play.
Bell is not a particularly gifted athlete, as he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds at the NFL Combine.
But he does have the ability to break tackles after making catches, as well as to, as O’Shea put it, “make defenders miss in space and the ability to find the endzone.”
The coach called Bell “an instinctive runner with the ball in his hands.”
Witness this monster play versus the University of Connecticut.
#Browns David Bell proves you don’t need flat line speed to break tackles and be dynamic in the open field
had 5 games in 2021 where he had over 16 yards per catch
Do you want production or to pass the eye test?
— Mac🦬 (@tha_buffalo) May 24, 2022
Right now, no one seems sure who the Browns’ WR2 will be this season.
Will it be Bell, or will it be Donovan Peoples-Jones, who showed some promise in 2021, his second season in the NFL?
With the right work ethic and a high level of desire, Bell could become the latest in a series of Browns draft picks that have panned out well.