An Indiana native, wide receiver David Bell stayed home and burst onto the scene with the Purdue Boilermakers, registering 86 receptions for 1,035 yards and eight total scores as a true freshman. He was Big Ten Freshman of the Year and a Freshman All-American honoree.
In 2020’s abbreviated season, the four-star recruit and high school basketball standout was selected to the first-team All-Big Ten squad with two more total scores than games played.
Height: 6-foot 7/8
Weight: 212 pounds
40 time: 4.65 seconds
A year later, Bell saved his best for last before declaring to enter the pros. His 93-1,286-6 line earned recognition as a first-team Associated Press All-American and the Big Ten Receiver of the Year.
Table: David Bell NCAA stats (2019-21)
*includes postseason/bowl games
- Among the best route-running skills of any receiver coming out this year
- Excellent body control, spatial awareness, and balance
- Fluid in the open field and does a tremendous job of maximizing his yardage per catch
- Unafraid of going over the middle in heavy traffic
- Plus-release repertoire and displays a knack for lulling defenders to sleep with his route cadence
- Late hands and demonstrates the ability to make highlight-reel catches
- Dangerous in the screen game — can have plays manufactured for him out of the backfield and around the line of scrimmage
Also see: 2022 NFL Draft Central
- Lacks speed to separate and probably won’t outrun too many defenders — a 4.65-second 40 at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine was followed up with a more disappointing 4.68 time at his pro day
- Despite making some spectacular hands catches, he tends to allow too many passes into the body
- Less experience out of the slot than ideal — profiles best as a split end
- Potentially low ceiling in the NFL — may need to haul in considerable volume to overcome physical limitations
- Limited potential as a blocker
Fantasy football outlook
Bell surely has enough exciting film to suggest he has a chance to break through in fantasy, but system fit will be key. He will benefit the most from playing in a system that utilizes short- to intermediate-area passing with an increased degree of mesh routes to allow his agility to take over. He’s not going to be at his best in a vertical system, although there’s also increased potential from him in play-action-heavy systems.
Bell’s lack of straightline speed and just average burst indicate a likely third-day selection in the upcoming draft. Speculating on his immediate value does no one any favors, but the long-term prognostication is likely capped in the low-end WR2 neighborhood for PPR purposes.