Everyone knows the Chargers likely should use their top draft picks on players in the trenches. The underwhelming 2021 performances of several starters were pivotal in the team just narrowly missing the playoffs in Brandon Staley’s first season as head coach.
However, this glaring hole in the roster hasn’t stopped some draft analysts from pairing the Chargers with a top wideout in the occasional mock draft. Names like Arkansas’ Treylon Burks and Alabama’s Jameson Williams are the top names thrown around, but I believe if the team were to actually go through with picking another pass catcher, the earliest it should should come is day two.
One receiver I got the chance to watch extensively in college is Purdue’s David Bell. However, I can’t exactly say it was a pleasure to watch him torch my Iowa Hawkeyes year after year after year. His graduation couldn’t have come sooner.
Bell is projected to be a second-round pick in this year’s draft by The Draft Network, who currently have him ranked a their WR8 and their 39th-overall prospect.
As an athlete, Bell isn’t going to set the combine on fire with his performance. I expect him to run in the mid-4.5s while being just average to above-average in many of the tests. At the same time, the tape doesn’t lie and Bell knows how to win despite his physical shortcomings. He’s got subtle nuance to his routes and he knows how to exploit a cornerback’s blind spot. He makes defenders covering him uncomfortable and that’s an easy way to draw out fundamentally unsound play.
Purdue WR David Bell with one of the catches of the season, even after getting tripped up and DPI pic.twitter.com/yvHiQxRK3Y— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) February 14, 2022
Purdue utilized Bell in a myriad of ways. You have to respect the amount of methods they used to get the ball in the hands of their best player but it’s not likely all of that will translate well to the next level. He’s most like going to be utilized on the perimeter, but he showed the hands and the chops to handle the blows taken when going over the middle on a number of occasions.
On top of that, he does some crazy things with body control that you just...simply can’t teach. Here’s an example below:
I'm pretty sure David Bell can catch balls during an exorcism. pic.twitter.com/TO8jCDkJTR— Bruce Matson (@MetricScout) February 9, 2022
Oh, and he’s also pretty dang good with the ball in his hands.
David Bell is an elite possession receiver, he doesn’t have great speed but he has a strong frame at 6’2 205 lbs and he’s pretty elusive in space. You combine that with a 94th percentile breakout age and an 87th percentile college target share and you have the clear cut ‘22 WR3. pic.twitter.com/MG0dMYjcwA— sfDynastyFF (@Quintorris_) February 15, 2022
During his time as a Boilermaker, Bell racked up 2,946 yards on 232 catches with 21 touchdowns in just three seasons. As a senior, he caught 96 balls for 1,286 and six scores en route to being named a First-Team All-Big Ten Selection, the Big Ten’s Receiver of the Year, and a consensus First-Team All-American.
At the end of the day, Bell is a bonafide playmaker and any offense would be happy to add him to their arsenal. Should the Chargers not re-sign Mike Williams, I really like the value of Bell in the middle of the second round.
Let me know what you all think of Bell as a prospect below and let me know whether or not you’d be fine with a wideout selected early in this year’s draft.