(Editor's Note: The DallasCowboys.com team welcomes Bucky Brooks to the staff. Bucky brings a wealth of experience, not only as a former NFL player of five seasons, but also as a scout and on the pro personnel side for two teams. In the last decade, Brooks has worked in the media, including the NFL Network. Bucky will provide his own analysis and opinions of the Cowboys but also the entire NFL. Today, he breaks down one of the new free-agent signings in tight end Blake Bell.)
- Name: Blake Bell
- Position: TE
- College: Oklahoma
- Height: 6-6
- Weight: 252
- Season: 6th
- Game Studied: 2019 (Kansas City vs. Bears, Broncos, and Ravens)
Bell is a backup tight end/special teams contributor with the potential to contribute in a clearly defined role. The former college quarterback turned tight end has developed into a solid No.2 tight end with a run-blocking specialty.
As a pesky blocker with relentless energy and effort, Bell effectively handles edge defenders in the running game. Although he is not an overpowering blocker at the point of attack, he neutralizes defenders like a basketball power forward setting hard screens in the paint. Bell's stickiness and persistence is effective enough for runners to turn the corner when he seals defenders to shoot through creases on the inside of his kick out blocks. The big-bodied tight end doesn't necessarily move defenders off the ball but his leverage and positioning are just enough to get the job done.
In pass protection, Bell is an effective chipper or short term protector on the edges. He stalemates pass rushers initially before getting into his route on the perimeter. Despite his effectiveness on chips, Bell should be utilized in a limited role in pass protection. He will get exposed by elite pass rushers in one-on-one match-ups on the edge.
In the passing game, Bell is a dependable pass catcher with strong hands and good ball skills. He consistently catches balls delivered within the strike zone and flashes potential as a chain mover. Although he lacks the explosiveness to be a difference-maker or mismatch creator in the passing game, Bell is a capable pass-catcher with the capacity to snag a handful of receptions on underneath routes and check-downs.
As special teams player, Bell's combination of size, speed and athleticism should make him a functional player on kick coverage and return units. He was an effective blocker on the Chiefs' punt return units and should be able to function in a similar capacity with the Cowboys.
- Sticky run blocker
- 100% effort player
- Solid special teams contributor
- Good hands/ball skills
- Limited playmaker in the passing game
- Lacks complete toolbox to be a TE1
What are scouts saying?
Bell has developed into a nice No.2 tight end. You can tell that he loves ball watching his effort and energy. He's an average blocker but he's persistent and works to finish. Bell's not built to be a No.1 but he's an adequate route runner with good hands. Overall, he's a solid backup/rotational player with some special teams value.
How does he fit in with the Cowboys?
Bell should be an effective TE2 for the Cowboys. He is ideally suited to function as the "Y" (traditional tight end) in multi-tight end sets with Blake Jarwin operating as the H-Back or move player. Considering how Mike McCarthy likes to deploy a variety of spread and empty formations with "12" personnel (1 RB, 2 TEs and 2 WRs), Bell displays enough versatility to be deployed at various spots in those sets. Moreover, he is effective enough to play as a bookend in "Ace" formations, which could give him an opportunity to see significant playing time as a No.2 tight end on the roster.