The NFL draft is a crap-shoot in most instances, especially when it comes to mid-round draft selections. For a team such as the Cleveland Browns, finding quality deep in the player pool was a mission for a team without a selection until the fourth round of the 2008 college player draft.
While he hasn't been a household name, insider linebacker Beau Bell has been on the radar of the Cleveland organization for the better portion of the past fifteen months. Bell first genuinely caught the attention of Cleveland scouts when the team was scouting cornerback Eric Wright, the Browns second-round draft selection last year.
The Cleveland scouts were intrigued with Bell at that point and, after deciding he could potentially be a player in their scheme, they kept a close eye on his development during his senior season at UNLV.
In an era where play on the field can be overshadowed by off-season time trials, Bell had seen his stock drop with "football pundits" due to a sub-par 40-time prior to the draft. For the Browns scouting department, however, Bell was a solid second-round talent that plays the game at a high level.
"Beau Bell is a player that we believe is much, much better than his ranking on some draft-boards. He (Bell) plays the game at a quick pace, he is athletic, energetic, but most importantly is a football player. While some players garner attention due to measurables, this young man has been highly productive and makes an impact on game-day," a Browns' team source tells the Orange and Brown Report.
While the Cleveland front office and scouting department rated Bell highly, they weren't joined by everyone in league circles. Bell fell into the fourth round of the draft, and 103 players were selected prior to Bell getting the call from the Browns that he would be the first selection by the team in the 2008 draft.
That hardly demonstrates a belief that this young man - with nothing but productivity on his side throughout his collegiate career - would excel at the next level.
What Bell does best is attack. Simply, this young man's motor never stops.
It was Bell's high-energy, explosive quality which caught the attention of the Browns. Bell does not simply tackle, he punished. His aggressiveness and ability to seek-and-destroy rivaled any player at inside linebacker in the draft.
"I can tell you, Beau Bell is easily one of the best three inside linebackers coming out of this draft class and if he would have gone to a bigger school, would have gained much more attention for what he does on the field, rather than his timed speed," the Cleveland team source continued. "On every tape we viewed, on every scouting encounter, Bell made plays. I'm not talking about five-yards down-field, but in the backfield, sideline to sideline. This young man is a hitter, the type of player that can impact a defense and the type of linebacker we have been looking for."
As the off-season began, the Browns focused their efforts on upgrading the defense with the additions of linemen Corey Williams and Shaun Rogers. They may have answered a remaining question at inside linebacker with the selection of Bell.
"We expect (Beau) Bell will be on the field. As an organization, we think highly of his ability and his competitive nature. In our eyes, if he runs 4.6 and doesn't ding a knee (surgery was not required) this off-season, we never have a chance to bring him in. Believe me, this kid has the ability and he is going to show it," the team source said.