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2016 NFL Draft Profile: Vonn Bell, safety, Ohio State University

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With Reggie Nelson and Leon Hall gone, and Adam Jones aging, should the Bengals look at Vonn Bell, who can play both corner and safety?

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

In a league with increased passing, it never hurts to have defensive backs who can cover. Ohio State's Vonn Bell is a safety who can play cornerback. With the loss of Reggie Nelson and Leon Hall, the Bengals could look to re-fuel the defensive secondary. Could Bell be on their radar?

Vonn Bell

Height: 5’11

Weight: 199 lbs

Class: Junior

40-Yard Dash: 4.51 seconds

Vertical jump: 30.5"

NFL comparisons:

College Stats:

Year Games Tackles Interceptions
2013 8 19 1
2014 15 91 6
2015 13 65 2
Career 36 175 9

Important Notes:

  • A top 30 national recruit out of high school
  • Had surgery to repair his MCL before the 2014 season

Scouting Report Consensus - What to like:

  • Very good football instincts
  • Reacts well to run/pass
  • Very good ball skills in coverage
  • Good in coverage, played well in man coverage the last couple years
  • 23 passes defensed over the last two seasons

Scouting Report Consensus - What to not like:

  • Not a big hitter on run defense
  • Tends to wait on ball carrier instead and gets knocked back on contact
  • Lacks elite speed and quickness

Projected Round:

Rounds 2-3. Bell plays well on an island in coverage, but a lack of elite speed or explosion may push him down on draft boards.


Bell doesn’t have elite speed, but his great football instincts allow him to be very solid in man and zone coverage as a free safety, who can also double as a nickel corner. You aren’t going to draft him to play at the line of scrimmage, and he’s not going to wow you with aggressive run support, but he’s not going to be a liability in that area either. What he will do for you is make plays on the ball in coverage, intercepting passes and knocking down the ones he can’t get to. If Bell slides to the third round, he could be a very good value pick for the Bengals and would be a good replacement for Reggie Nelson at the free safety spot, able to hold his own in pass coverage.

A good way to think of Bell is that he is the polar opposite of Taylor Mays. He won’t wow you at the combine, but plays with better football instincts. He won’t make big, aggressive hits in run support, but won’t wiff in the open field. He won’t be a liability in coverage, trying to play for the big hit on the receiver, but will play the ball on the pass and has good ball skills. Everything you hate about Mays, you will like about Bell, and vice versa.