CANTON, Ohio — David Bell is showing what the Browns can expect from him—and so far it looks good. Before anyone says "We're talking 'bout practice" in their best Allen Iverson impression, the third-round pick has a stat that fans should consider a sign of good things to come—Bell isn't dropping passes.
Through the Browns’ six open practice sessions this offseason, the rookie has yet to drop a single pass. Not one.
Even in the other sessions that are closed to the media, Bell's streak is strong. The 21-year-old said after Wednesday's practice at the Pro Football Hall of Fame that he has dropped the ball once, but no one was there to see it.
"I don't think you guys were out here. I think it was at the first OTA, second OTA. I just dropped one," Bell said.
And it's not like Bell has dropped them and simply forgotten. He aims to remember his drops because he doesn't believe that to be the kind of player he is.
"I'm real big on myself. So when that does happen, it's uncharacteristic of myself to do that. I take it to heart. I try to make sure that it doesn't happen again," Bell said. "Every time I drop a ball, it's always one minor thing that I didn't do, whether looking it in or my hands aren't in the right place. So when I drop a pass, I know why I dropped that pass."
Bell analyzes his mistakes in order to grow. And to him a drop is a big mistake, one that takes away from his biggest goal as a receiver.
"The quarterback trusts you to make those catches because they have a lot going on their plate. It's really an easy job for us because we have to get up and catch the ball and run the right routes. That's something that we all take pride in as a receiver, being able to catch the ball," Bell said.
So he works on himself and aims for progression each day he's on the field with his teammates.
"I'm real hard on myself, so I think the first few days weren't what I projected it to be. It was just a matter of getting on my feet and getting an understanding of the plays and stuff like that," Bell said. I think each and every day I progress, and that's just something I live for, just to make sure you get better day by day and hopefully you can reach that full peak potential."
Chatting with players like Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones, Bell is trying to shape his NFL game through the offseason so he's ready for his pro debut. He's also working with his quarterbacks to learn more of the game from the guys giving him the passes he's not dropping, especially Deshaun Watson who shares a locker area with him.
"He’s actually my locker mate. He’s coaching me up a lot, even on the off days. He’ll shoot me a text and say, ‘This is what I’m looking for on this.” I’ll make sure to correct that next practice. It’s definitely a bond I’m trying to build, but I know it’s going to take a lot to continue to build that trust," Bell said. "Just to build that chemistry with your quarterback. He's not the only person I build that chemistry with, also everyone on the team. For him to be right there, it's definitely a good experience for a rookie like myself."
The streak of no drops continued through Wednesday's short practice, but Bell hopes it goes much longer than that.
"Throughout the camp, I think we've done a pretty good job of that. Hopefully, it will continue on into camp and then on into the season," Bell said.
Camryn Justice is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.
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