Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State
With the 16th ranked pass defense in college football, it’s no surprise the Buckeyes have two defensive backs projected to go in the top 50 picks in the 2016 draft. Bell is the second of the two, but the fact he ranks after his teammate Eli Apple doesn’t mean he’s a scrub.
Bell excels in man coverage, and was trusted to the point that Ohio State placed him as a single-high safety against some of the most dangerous pass-and-catch threats in college football. An instrumental piece of the 2014 National Championship team, Bell was a profound leader on the team, and will bring a smart and aggressive style to the NFL.
For the Buccs he fits their needs perfectly. Some recent reports seem to point to the team trying to address their cornerback needs in free agency, which immediately opens the door to addressing their defensive line and safety needs in the draft.
Outside of Jalen Ramsey, who will likely be taken before the Bucs draft at #9, Bell is in a race for second best safety among players like Karl Joseph and Miles Killebrew. All three are listed as attendees for the 2016 Scouting Combine, and their performances there will help separate the three.
With needs all over the defense, finding an intelligent and athletic free safety who can help greatly in pass coverage is going to be key to the Bucs returning their defense to the top of the NFC South. Bell brings that, and run support, and could become the target of Tampa Bay as the draft draws near.
Next: Derrick Henry