PFF scouting report: Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State
Below is the PFF draft profile for OSU’s Vonn Bell, which incorporates PFF’s college grades and scouting intel from our team of analysts. To see all of PFF’s 2016 scouting reports, click here.
Position fit: 2-high safety
Stats to know: Graded positively in both coverage and the run game in 2015, but was only the 22nd-highest graded safety in the class
What he does best:
• Wraps up in the tackle, something too few players do. Wasn’t immune to missing anyway, with nine missed tackles on the season, but would go for the legs and bring his man to ground well most of the time
• Understands angles and works to the right spot to make a play on the ball or cut off the route rather than just heading for the receiver. Would routinely scare quarterbacks away from making a pass into his coverage because of the angle he was coming at and closing the window
• Comes up pretty quickly in a straight line on receiver screens and the run game. Is all about closing off space and minimizing the success of the play whatever the situation
• Made a spectacular grab on a deflected pass that most receivers couldn’t manage, so has some ball skills
• Looks pretty slow to do most things. No suddenness to his movement, is more about getting to the right spot and containing the play rather than bursting to make a positive impact. Ran a 4.51 40 at his pro day, so not a bad athlete, but just doesn’t play fast
• Wraps up in the tackle at the expense of attacking the ball-carrier and delivering the hit. Is the nail rather than the hammer too often, and waits for the runner to get to him. Nine missed tackles is too much for a player who is usually in the right spot
• Can be blocked out of the play by bigger players and won’t challenge strength too often, hoping instead to just maintain position and force the play back towards help
Player comparison: Jairus Byrd, New Orleans Saints. In the scheme he landed in when he came into the league, Jairus Byrd was an excellent free safety, because he was allowed to cheat with his depth and make plays on the ball. Removed from that scheme he appears more of an average player with good ball skills, and doesn’t have the athleticism or speed on tape to make the same impact he could in his previous scheme. I wonder if the same thing is true for Bell, limiting him to a two-high scheme.
Bottom line: Vonn Bell is one of the best safety prospects available this season, but it’s difficult to pin down too much he does exceptionally well, looking more like a solid player taking advantage of being on a very good defense at Ohio State. I can’t see him having the capability to play either high or low in a scheme that plays a lot of cover-1 or cover-3 with a single high safety and a box safety, but he could do a solid job as a two-high player.