Weight: 203 pounds
School: Fresno State Bulldogs
Mike Bell 2019 NFL Draft Profile
2018’s second-team All-Mountain West safety Mike Bell is officially entering the 2019 NFL Draft. Bell finished the 2018 season with 86 tackles, three tackles-for-loss, three interceptions, and eight pass breakups. Bell still had one year of eligibility remaining but opted to declare for the NFL Draft following his Junior season.
Bell initially arrived at Fresno as a three-star recruit out of Moreno Valley, California. After redshirting through the 2015 campaign, Bell earned a regular spot on the defense in 2016. Playing in 11 games, Bell recorded 35 tackles, 2.5 tackles-for-loss, and one pass defended over the course of his season. Bell built on that role in 2017, recording 77 tackles, three tackles-for-loss, three passes defended, and one interception.
Bell saved his best work for last, as he enters the NFL Draft on the heels of a strong junior season. Playing in a career-high 14 games, Bell set career-highs in tackles (87), tackles for loss (3.5), interceptions (three), and passes defended (eight). This impressive performance earned him second-team All-Mountain West honors, and Bell finished his collegiate career with 199 tackles, four interceptions, and 12 passes defended.
- ideal build and size for the NFL;
- versatile chess piece capable of moving across the defensive formation;
- aggressive defender who doesn’t shy away from contact;
- good ball skills and impressive play recognition;
- takes good angles and rarely finds himself out of position.
- poor tackling fundamentals – often goes too low when trying to wrap up ball carriers;
- missed a lot of tackles in open space;
- struggles to shed blocks, especially against bigger linebackers;
- average athleticism;
- something of a “tweener” who lacks a true position;
- primarily played zone in college.
NFL Comparison: Tavon Wilson
Projection: Rounds three to five
Mike Bell is a good raw prospect with prototypical size and height for the position. While he’s not the most athletic specimen in the world, he certainly is good enough to stick in the NFL. He has the versatility and football I.Q. to play either free or strong safety, which is absolutely crucial in a backup. Additionally, he has a good feel for where the opposing offense wants to go with the football and typically takes the quickest path to break up the play.
The biggest downside with Bell is his poor tackling form. You don’t need to be an NFL scout to see that Bell simply misses too many tackles on a regular basis. He goes in too low, losing his center of balance and his power, which leads to ball carriers getting past him on a frequent basis. Fortunately, most of Bells’ issues are coachable and could be fixed under the correct coaching staff.
Bell won’t be day one starter, but he has a chance to develop into a full-time player under the right tutelage. At the very least, he’s a solid backup capable of playing both safety positions at a serviceable level. His limited athleticism will keep him from being a superstar, but he has the potential to be a solid starter in the league for a long time if he can fix his tackling issues.
Embed from Getty Images