Unlike previous No. 11’s, Brandon Bell came to Happy Valley with little fanfare. He didn’t land a scholarship from the Nittany Lions until late-May 2012, and being a mid-three-star prospect, there was little buzz when Bell committed to the program just a couple weeks later. But it didn’t take long for Bell to make an impact in the Blue & White, as he played a back-up role as a freshman, totaling 24 tackles and forcing a fumble.
Bell was a starter for his final three seasons in Happy Valley, racking up an additional 200 tackles in the process. His finest season (unsurprisingly) was in 2016 where Bell played his best football during the biggest moments of the season — Ohio State (18 tackles and 1 sack) and Wisconsin (13 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 leap).
What You’re Getting
Bell’s an interesting case because there really isn’t really a lot he can’t do as a linebacker. He’s shown that he’s at his best when attacking the line of scrimmage, but he’s more than capable to drop back into coverage as well. He’s a bit undersized at 6-foot-1-ish, 229 pounds, but is a solid enough athlete to make up for it. Yes, there might be concerns that he doesn’t do one thing extremely well, but there are very few holes in his game, which is what some organizations are looking for in the later rounds.
Bell’s biggest issue might be his durability. While he never missed significant time because of an injury, it seemed like Bell was always hobbled — in 2014 his missed three games, in 2015 he missed two games, and in 2016 he missed another four games. When he was on the field, there was no question Bell was one of he very best linebackers in the conference, but the concerns of if he can stay healthy at the next level are legitimate.