There he was at the NFL scouting combine just like Blake Bell always thought he would be one day. Instead of throwing the passes, though, he was catching them.
One after another. Showing his hands, his ability to react, another sign of his ongoing transition from five-star quarterback out of high school to legitimate tight end target in the NFL.
“I want to play,” said Bell after last week’s pro day. “I can play it, and I feel like I’m getting better each and every day ever since I started playing tight end. I can only just keep getting better from here.”
Bell went to Indianapolis last month for the combine a question mark at tight end. He proved doubters wrong with a quality outing in the receiving drills portion and also ranking as the fourth fastest tight end at the event.
Tight end runs in the Bell family with his father having played the position. But he was supposed to be the quarterback. Heading into his junior season at Oklahoma, it looked like the time was now for Bell.
Inconsistent play eventually led to Trevor Knight taking the reins. Bell could have transferred and sought to play immediately for one year in 2014. Nobody would have blamed him. Instead, he opted to change the course of his career and maybe even his life.
Bell talked with the OU coaches about making the switch to tight end. He wanted to be a Sooner. He wanted to finish his career in Norman.
“I think God did it for a reason,” Bell said. “I think it’s my position, and I’m having fun with it. I’m getting better each and every day.”
OU’s offense hasn’t exactly utilized the tight end in a major way in the last three seasons. Some would say it’s the talent on the field, other point toward the coaching direction or maybe a combination of both.
Either way, Bell accepted his new role in stride and provided some new memories for OU fans to go with his BellDozer moments.
He finished the season with 16 catches for 224 yards and four touchdowns. Not gaudy by any means but the best OU production at the position in some time.
“To me, I just love the game of football,” Bell said. “Playing quarterback helped me out a lot. When I get up on the board, I start smiling because that’s the stuff I like. I like defensive fronts, showing routes, blocking assignments, all that kind of stuff.”
The next step for Bell is the NFL. Since his time at OU has ended, Bell has been working on his speed. He said he was around 225 pounds heading into college, but after years in OU’s weight program, he got to as high as 260 pounds.
The goal, which has been successful at so far, has been to drop the weight, excess fat and increase the speed.
Bell continues to work hard because it’s all he really can do right now. His time is coming, and he’s ready for it.
“There’s a lot of feedback you get back in this kind of process right now,” Bell said. “It’s one of those things where you’re doing a lot of stuff and people are talking to you trying to get base information and watching film and stuff. As we go further, I think you’ll start to kind of feel who is talking to you like that.”