Relatively slow 40-yard dash time likely won’t cripple Bell’s prospects

With the first day of the NFL Draft now shortened to the first two rounds, the chances of former UNLV star linebacker Beau Bell getting selected today appear remote.

He’s encouraged, though, that scouts reportedly have spent extra time going back over videotape of his play at UNLV, where Bell became the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

It’s an indication scouts might not have put much stock in the 4.9 seconds Bell clocked in the 40-yard dash at his individual on-campus workout on March 31.

“I’m really glad they’re going back on the film and seeing I don’t run a 4.9,” said Bell, who is 6 feet 2 inches, 248 pounds. “You also have to realize I had hurt my knee and the whole time I was rehabbing, and I had two weeks to get ready to run the 40.”

ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. said he didn’t think Bell’s 40 time was indicative of his true speed.

“For me, he runs a lot better, and his consistent times carry a lot better,” Kiper said. “And he’s strong. I remember a guy by the name of Kirk Morrison dropped in the draft a few years ago and initially surprised as a rookie.”

The Oakland Raiders selected Morrison in the third round of the 2005 draft out of San Diego State.

He made 116 tackles as a rookie and surpassed that number each of the past two seasons.

Kiper, though, said he projected Bell as a fourth- or fifth-rounder. Sporting News lists Bell as a high second-rounder to the Atlanta Falcons.

The Cleveland Browns, who drafted ex-UNLV cornerback Eric Wright in the second round last year, reportedly have heavy interest in Bell but are concerned he will be gone in the third round. The Browns’ first pick isn’t until the fourth.

Cleveland was one of four NFL cities Bell visited after his UNLV workout. He also met with the New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys, but trips to see the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins were canceled.

“I’m just hoping to land on a team and make the roster,” Bell said. “That’s my goal. It doesn’t matter where I go. I just want to make a team.”

Bell isn’t the only former Rebel with a shot to get selected.

Defensive end Jeremy Geathers (6-2, 248), who like Wright came out after his junior season, has been thinking about this weekend since he was 7.

“I wasn’t a big college fan,” Geathers said. “My dad (Jumpy) and uncle (Robert Geathers Sr.) were in the NFL. I always wanted to be there. It’s my dream. I feel real good about the draft this weekend.”

Geathers said he has received a mixture of views from clubs that have called.

He said the Arizona Cardinals project him as high as a late second-rounder, many teams have him in the third- to fifth-round range, and others see him going in the sixth or seventh round.

Sporting News rates Geathers as a late second-round pick by the Indianapolis Colts. Kiper wasn’t as optimistic, calling Geathers a late-rounder or an undrafted free agent signee.

Former UNLV players more likely to sign free-agent contracts are cornerback Mil’Von James, guard Tim Goins, kicker Sergio Aguayo and safety Tony Cade.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914.

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