Tuesday, March 25, 2008

NFL Draft Spotlight on . . . Beau Bell of UNLV

Today's NFL Draft Spotlight is on UNLV linebacker James "Beau" Bell...Bell is 6'3", 245 lbs...he was the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year...Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal was nice enough to respond to our questions about Bell...I want to thank Mark for his time...

Q1. Beau Bell is listed as one of the top linebackers in the country. One publication states, "The dude is an animal. Bell flies around and makes plays all over the field." How would you describe Bell?
A. That description is very accurate. Bell is an aggressive player who is especially outstanding against the run. The concern of NFL scouts heading into last season was his ability against the pass, but Bell improved tremendously there and made four interceptions. UNLV put him in positions where he could roam around and make plays, and that's exactly what he did.

Q2. What type of person is Bell off the field? Is he a good practice player? Does he have the desire?
A. Bell is one of the more humble players anyone will meet, especially for a star. I think he never realized how good he was until his senior season. Bell always was a playmaker, but usually deferred to other players when it came to leadership. It was interesting watchiing him grow up and believe in himself more and truly become a leader asa senior. He already led by example through his strong work habits. I do think it will take him a while to become a strong leader in the NFL because I see him again deferring to older players. But if he stays in the league a few years, I could see that kind of growth in confidence occurring again.

Q3. What current NFL player is Bell comparable to?
A. That's a hard question because there are so many unknowns. Bell clearly was the best defensive player in the Mountain West Conference, but what does that mean compared to top linebackers from power conferences? Because it's difficult to compare to even those players, I have a hard time lining him up against an NFL player. One thing in Bell's favor iscornerback Eric Wright came out of UNLV last year and had a successful rookie season for the Cleveland Browns, so Bell could make a major impact as well. Then I think it would be more fair to compare him.

Q4. What must Bell improve upon in order to make an impact in the NFL?
A. I think there are still questions about his ability to drop in pass coverage. Also, before he injured his left knee at Senior Bowl practices, scouts were disappointed he wasn't quicker. Not being able to run at the scouting combine didn't help, either, and Bell did not appear in UNLV's pro day in order to get more training in after the injury. He has scheduled his own workout at UNLV on March 31, so a lot of questions should be answered then.

Q5. Are there any other UNLV players we should keep an eye on for this year's draft? Who are some future NFL prospects that we should pay attention to on the 2008 UNLV team?
A. Bell probably is the only Rebel who will be drafted. If anyone else goes, it probably will be defensive end Jeremy Geathers, who left early. He comes from a football family (cousin Robert Geathers Jr. currently plays for the Cincinnati Bengals), so that could get him an extra look. Cornerback Mil'Von James has a small chance to be drafted, but most likely will sign as a free agent. Kicker Sergio Aguayo, offensive lineman Tim Goins and wide receiver Aaron Straiten would have to go the free agent route. As for next year, there aren't many prospects because most of the top players are sophomores and juniors. Frank Summers, a 240-pound tailback, might be the best bet. Cornerback Geoffery Howard is a possibility. Defensive tackle Jacob Hales probably is a long shot.

I want to thank Mark again for his time!!!...