Byron Bell Brings Position Versatility, Massive Size To Cowboys OL (Film Review) ⋆
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Byron Bell Brings Position Versatility, Massive Size To Cowboys OL (Film Review)

Byron Bell Brings Position Versatility, Massive Size To Cowboys OL (Film Review) 1

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Byron Bell Brings Position Versatility, Massive Size To Cowboys OL (Film Review)

Byron Bell Brings Position Versatility, Massive Size To Cowboys OL (Film Review)

While the Cowboys have had the luxury of stability and health across their offensive line over the past few seasons, the departure of Ronald Leary and retirement of Doug Free add a few question marks to the Dallas depth up-front.

To help secure their tackle depth, the Cowboys signed former Panthers and Titans offensive lineman Byron Bell for the 2017 season.

Though he missed the 2016 season after suffering an ankle injury during OTA’s, Bell started 72 games over his first five seasons in the NFL, most coming with the Carolina Panthers. Bell was last seen starting all 16 games for the Titans in 2015, playing both left and right tackle, as well as guard.

So far in his career, Byron Bell has been the recipient of much criticism. When forced to play left tackle in 2014, Bell was ranked as the second-to-worst left tackle in football by Pro Football Focus. To be fair, Bell was never expected to play left tackle, and didn’t really fit the position at all. When asked to play right tackle or guard, Bell performed much better.

The 6’5″ 340 pound tackle showed the versatility to play both inside and out for the Titans in 2015, but to be quite honest, he wasn’t too spectacular at either position. With his big, imposing frame, you would hope that he would possess strong hands, and be able to drive defenders off the ball while being a mauler in the run game.

However, Bell displayed both pad level and contact balance issues which hindered his ability to pass and run block.

byron bell – Streamable

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At left guard here, Bell gets beat with a bull rush right from the snap. He must stay stronger with his post foot, and sink his hips to counter the bull. At 340 pounds, Bell must be able to anchor better and stop his momentum from falling backwards.

This issues with pad level, stiff hips, and dying feet were consistent throughout the games I studied on Bell.

byron bell 2 – Streamable

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This time on a draw play, Bell’s technique is almost all bad. He does a good job of shielding the defensive tackle and giving the running back a two-way go, but his stiffness and pad level are alarming.

Bell is nearly standing straight up here, and does not run his feet whatsoever. He absolutely must improve on plays like these if he is to have any impact for the Cowboys.

As you might expect for a man of Byron Bell’s size, he is not the most fluid athlete. On film he struggled a few times with defensive linemen crossing his face. I also have to question how well he can block in space and get to the second level, something that could be an issue in a zone blocking scheme.

byron bell 4 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

I know that by now, you’re probably wondering why the Cowboys would sign a guy that I’ve had almost nothing nice to say about.

So let me get into some of these positives.

The very fact that Bell can play at both guard and tackle is important. We always talk about how the Cowboys love defensive linemen who can move around the line and rotate throughout the positions. Well, that is important for backup offensive linemen as well.

While he struggled with bull rushes and needs to do a better job sinking his hips and delivering a punch, Bell showed the ability to kick set versus just about any alignment from the tackle position. He needs to play better through contact, but he has shown that he can get back to the point of intersection and be in position.

Bell also worked well with double teams, getting movement on the down lineman and clouding the linebacker’s field of vision. This ability will be important as the Cowboys use deuce blocks often.

When the announcement was made that Byron Bell was coming to Dallas, many immediately speculated that he could compete for the starting right tackle job. At this moment, however, I don’t believe he is a better option that former third rounder Chaz Green.

In the limited time that we were able to see Green, he showed that he can be a solid contributor along the offensive line as soon as next season.

To me, Byron Bell provides good depth behind both Green and Emmett Cleary, and could compete for the swing tackle position. His versatility, size, and athleticism for his size are all positives, and while his game is a bit raw, he can fill in if needed due to injury. I actually like him more inside, and he could be competing with Jonathan Cooper for a backup guard spot.

Overall, I like the signing of Byron Bell. He isn’t going to be an All-Pro tackle, but he doesn’t need to be either. For a swing tackle on a one year deal, Byron Bell is well worth the risk for the Dallas Cowboys.

Kevin Brady

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

3 Comments
  • Pauul

    Also, many folks CANNOT play both sides of the line – right or left dominant. Seems to me that he was much better at RG than either left side. And better at RT than RG. I couldnt find a good breakdown on PFF to back that up but he seems to drop his right foot better than his left. Which is good for RT

    • https://kevinrobertbrady.wordpress.com Kevin Brady

      Good points, Paul. He played better on the right side both at tackle and guard. Was asked to move around a ton in Carolina and Tennessee, would like to see how he does with a set position.

  • Ethan Chazin

    Like the off-season approach, get serviceable players with experience on cheap one year deals, build thru draft and re-sign your own. Still think with a halfwaydecent secondary we don’t lose to Aaron Rogers 2 of the last 3 years.

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