40-yard dash: 4.65 seconds (10th percentile)
Vertical: 33” (21st)
Broad: 9’10” (32nd)
3-cone: 7.14 seconds (19th)
Short shuttle: 4.57 seconds (2nd)
Bell racked up 1,542 yards and 22 TDs on 85 receptions as a senior at Warren Central High School, winning 2018 Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year. He was a unanimous 4-star prospect and opted to stay in-state at Purdue over offers from Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan, among 15+ others.
Bell stepped right into a massive role for the Boilermakers, leading the team’s WRs with a 85.3% snap rate as a true freshman. He paced the team in catches and receiving yards, while tying TE Brycen Hopkins for the lead in TDs. Bell’s market shares: 26.9% of the receptions, 27.8% of the yards and 24.1% of the TDs.
Rondale Moore was limited to just 4 games in that 2019 campaign, finishing with 29 catches for 387 yards and 2 TDs. In his 4 games alongside Moore, Bell tallied 14 catches, 244 yards and 1 score.
Bell ranked 48th in Pro Football Focus’ receiving grades among 200 WRs with 50+ targets in 2019. He was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and a First-Team Associated Press Freshman All-American.
Bell boosted his per-game production and market shares in a COVID-abbreviated, 6-game 2020 season. He averaged 8.8 catches, 104.2 yards and 1.3 TDs, tallying 8+ catches and 100+ yards in 4 of 6 outings. Bell hogged 30.1% of Purdue’s receptions, 33.7% of the receiving yards and 53.3% of the receiving scores.
He again benefitted from Rondale Moore missing 3 of those 6 games. But this time around, Bell out-produced Moore in their shared games:
Bell was highly productive again this past year, averaging 8.5 catches, a career-high 116.9 receiving yards and .5 TDs across 11 games. He missed the Illinois game with a concussion and opted out of the Music City Bowl to start prepping for the draft. In his 11 games, Bell accounted for 26.1% of Purdue’s catches, 33.8% of the receiving yards and 20.7% of the receiving scores.
He set a new personal-best with an 87.4 PFF receiving grade – 13th among 251 WRs with 50+ targets. Bell’s 2.7 yards per route run ranked 33rd among those 251.
He was named a First-Team All-American, Big Ten Conference Receiver of the Year and a Biletnikoff Award finalist.
Courtesy of FF Astronauts
Games watched - Iowa (2020), Minnesota (2020), Notre Dame, Iowa
Bell is clearly comfortable making plays in traffic. He combines timing, body control and strong hands to come down with 50/50 balls.
He’s a strong ball tracker on deep passes, with the ability to make adjustments to come down with the football.
Bell is crafty on short and intermediate routes, with a varied array of releases and smooth, refined routes.
You don't see him create big separation, though, because he lacks explosiveness.
Ditto after the catch. Bell doesn't win with speed or acceleration but has enough elusiveness and power to do some damage. His 25 missed tackles forced last year were 3rd most among WRs, according to Pro Football Focus.
Bell is a classic case of production vs. measurables. His college production profile is strong: a freshman-year breakout, big market shares and an early declaration for the NFL Draft.
But Bell’s measurables are ugly. He posted bottom-third-percentile marks in every drill at the Combine, including a 10th percentile 40-yard dash and a 2nd percentile short shuttle. Bell finished with a Relative Athletic Score of 3.99 – well below the NFL average of 4.7.
That’s certainly not a death knell. But only 6 WRs from the previous 10 draft classes with a Relative Athletic Score below 4.0 have managed to record a 1,000-yard season:
Allen Hurns (3.64)
Robert Woods (3.55)
Kelvin Benjamin (3.49)
Kendall Wright (3.04)
Hunter Renfrow (2.94)
Jarvis Landry (.27)
We know that college production is much more predictive than measurables when it comes to projecting WRs from college to the pros. But there’s also some baseline of athleticism that a WR needs to make it in the NFL. Bell is straddling that line.
His college production profile must be respected and points to a guy likely to have at least some success at the next level. But it’s tough to get excited about Bell’s fantasy upside after factoring in his measurables. He looks like a floor pick in Round 2 of dynasty rookie drafts.