Path to the Draft: Kenny Bell

The Huskers did their homework on Kenny Bell. The effort to recruit after the start of the season on the players that emerge as seniors. That was Bell particularly after missing most of the season due to injury.

Kenny Bell likely cemented himself as a future NFL Draft pick this past weekend after his performance at the combine. Bell measured well, ran well and tested well overall. But, to get to there you have to start back at the beginning and know that there wasn’t an article written about Bell until May before his senior year.

Bell had picked up three offers by that time. The teams that had offered Bell were Idaho, Colorado State and Minnesota. After that report, things went quiet on Bell. In fact, the next interview wasn’t conducted with Bell until November and it was clear that Bell wanted an offer from Nebraska.

"I think that Nebraska is a great fit for me," said Bell at the time. "It's close enough to home. I actually know a lot of people originally from Nebraska. I love the coaching staff. I think that it's an awesome fit. Nebraska likes me more as a wide out, then as a corner and then as a return specialist. I don't have an offer from them, but I am hoping to get one from Nebraska."

Bell had missed a majority of his senior year after breaking his collarbone in the first week. A two-way standout, Bell returned and scored a touchdown in each of his first five games. He was also recognized as an all-state player despite missing as much time as he had.

The senior took a visit to Nebraska in November and then traveled again to see the Huskers beat Arizona in the Holiday Bowl, 33-0. Bell was impressed. About a week later he was “N”. Bell fell in love with the fans from Nebraska just like they did to him over his career at Nebraska.

After redshirting, Bell played in 53 games in his career starting 49 of them. Bell leaves Nebraska as the most productive receiver to ever wear the uniform by becoming the leader in receptions (181) and yards (2,689). Bell scored 21 TDs in his career.

But as much as Bell was a consistent play-maker for the Huskers over the past four years there he is as much remembered for his hair. For his ability to make plays on special teams. Bell was also known to pull in a one-handed grab and arguably could be the most physical wide receiver Nebraska’s ever put on the field and how he supports the team as a blocker.

Bell was an all-freshman team selection by a number of publications. He was also a second-team all-conference selection by the coaches as a sophomore, honorable mention as a junior and was a first-team selection as a senior. That was the first time a receiver from Nebraska was first-team since Jon Bostic back in 1991.

Bell measured in at 6-foot-1 and 197-pounds, repped 225-pounds on the bench press seven times. He jumped 10’9” in the standing broad jump, had a 41.5” vertical jump and while he goes down as a 4.42/40 at the combine his best time was 4.35. People have gotten caught up on being a little thin and struggling against physical corners.

People can forget about what Bell struggles with because he will work at it until he gets it right. He’s definitely a hard worker and will make an impact on special teams. There is a toughness about Bell – and a guy that seems to get inspiration from doubt(ers) – that will fuel him as a professional.

The draft projections vary on Bell and could update based on a pretty strong combine. He ranges from 5th rounder by some to an undrafted free agent possibility. Most see Bell going in the 6th round.


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