New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

Florida State tight end Jaheim Bell carries the ball against Pittsburgh. Credit: Florida State Athletics

With their final pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots selected tight end Jaheim Bell from Florida State. Bell is the first tight end drafted by the Patriots since the team took Devin Asiasi (91st overall) and Dalton Keene (101st overall) in the 2020 NFL Draft.

After playing his first three college seasons at South Carolina, Bell transferred to Florida State last year. In 13 games he caught 39 passes for 503 yards and two touchdowns.


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Getting Bell with the 231st pick could be a relative steal for the Patriots. Entering the pre-draft process Bell was viewed as a potential top-100 pick. He struggled a bit during the pre-draft process, but was still projected to be a late-fourth or early-fifth round pick heading into the weekend.

What had people so excited about Bell from the beginning? Why did he fall? Here’s what experts were saying about him leading up to the draft…

  • Lance Zierlein,

    “Undersized as a tight end and lacking instincts as a lead blocker out of the backfield, Bell is a player without a clean positional fit after playing all over the field at South Carolina and Florida State. When Bell centers in and locks up, he can be an effective blocker, but he is wildly inconsistent when asked to make blocks on the move in space. He’s tight-hipped, but he does have the speed to run the seams and is a talented runner after the catch. He might need to find a modified gadget role and really show out on special teams to make a squad.”


  • Dane Brugler, The Athletic

    “A one-year starter at Florida State, Bell was a versatile tight end in head coach Mike Norvell’s up-tempo scheme (44.3 percent of his snaps came in the slot, 43.0 percent inline and 10.4 percent out wide). After three seasons with the Gamecocks, he transferred to Tallahassee, where he set career bests in catches and receiving yards (one of 12 FBS tight ends in 2023 with 35-plus catches and 500-plus receiving yards).

    As a receiving option, Bell is a good-sized athlete who can push through physical coverage and be an effective catch-and-run option. He struggles to sustain as a blocker, but he efficiently fits up his target to wall off in the run game or lose slowly once engaged in pass pro. Overall, Bell isn’t a dynamic weapon, but he has pass-catching talent, and NFL teams will like his contact balance and competitive chops as a blocker, receiver and after the catch. A similar player to the Houston Texans’ Brevin Jordan, he can earn a No. 2 tight end role.”


  • Keith Sanchez, The Draft Network

    “Jaheim Bell is a versatile tight end prospect that can positively affect an offense from different alignments on the field…Jaheim Bell has been able to align at different positions on the field and be an effective player throughout his collegiate career. He has aligned at the in-line TE position, in the slot, outside, and has taken handoffs from the backfield, showcasing his natural athleticism and ability to be effective all over the field.

    Profiling as a receiving tight end, Bell appears to be most effective when he is lined up in the slot or the H-back position where he is detached from the line of scrimmage in the backfield. From this alignment, Bell has shown the ability to uncover using burst at the top of option routes to separate. He has also shown to be able to run vertical up the seams of the defense.

    Not only has Bell been able to use his athleticism to separate vertically from defenders, but he has also shown to be a reliable target in high-traffic areas. Bell has strong hands that he uses to pull the ball out of the air and make the catch in contested situations. He also has a good understanding of zone defense with the ability to throttle down and find the soft spots in defenses to make himself open.

    Bell’s most unique usage comes when he has been used in backfield motion to take handoffs or aligned at the RB position. With the ball in his hands, Bell shows lateral agility, quickness, and burst, all of which also show in run-after-the-catch situations as a receiver.

    The concerns about Bell have to deal with his consistency catching the ball. There are instances where Bell may drop the football looking to turn up the field and make a play without securing the ball first. The other concern that will arise with Bell is if he is a scheme-specific player or not. Bell’s measurements and play style may not have a role in every NFL offense.”


  • Ian Cummings, Pro Football Network

    “Bell’s profile as a niche player slightly dilutes his ceiling, but he can be a valuable piece in the modern NFL. At 6’1 7/8″ and 244 pounds, with near-33″ arms, Bell has a frame that affords him great natural leverage, proportional length, and contact balance in RAC situations. He’s also an extremely explosive athlete, with the unique long-strider speed to extend narrow seams.

    Bell’s build and athleticism help set the foundation for his versatility as a moving piece and H-back capable weapon. Bell can line up as a big-slot, as a motion man, or take reps from the backfield, and he provides value as a blocker from countless alignments, further magnifying his schematic appeal.

    That said, past his role as a versatile H-back with blocking utility, Bell’s projection is unclear. He flashes good hand strength and coordination, but he can be very inconsistent gathering passes beyond his frame. Additionally, his route tree is relatively limited, and his stem work needs improvement in order to translate.

    As a receiving threat, Bell may be mostly limited to RAC opportunities, given his limited route tree and inability to box out defenders. But as a multifaceted rotational TE with dynamic vertical ability in space, all-encompassing blocking utility, and tone-setting competitive toughness, he can provide value in the later rounds.”


  • Derrik Klassen, Bleacher Report

    “Jaheim Bell is a movable offensive piece who is only a tight end in name. At 6’3” and 239 pounds, Bell is not a traditional on-the-ball tight end. He is more of a wing or H-back player who lines up off the ball, in the backfield and in the slot. Bell even played a little bit of running back at South Carolina in 2022.

    Bell’s best traits are his movement skills in space. Thanks to his lean build, he’s a quick, comfortable athlete in the open field. He glides across the field and has a relatively threatening top speed, making him useful on crossers, wheels and seam routes. Bell can make some plays with the ball in his hands, too. He isn’t a creative or explosive ball-carrier, but he changes direction fairly well and flashes some decent contact balance.

    With all of that being said, Bell has some serious issues linked to size and strength.Bell is unplayable as a blocker by NFL standards right now. He lacks the physical demeanor you want, and he far too often gets blown up at the point of attack. Bell has some use as a moving blocker in space, but he can not be a point man in any run scheme.

    Likewise, Bell struggles to win with physicality at the top of routes. That is only exacerbated by his short arms. Bell will likely struggle to fill the “security blanket” aspect of tight end play.

    Bell is an interesting idea for coaches who want an athletic H-back with receiving skills. However, it’s hard to imagine Bell sticking as a starting tight end given his size and strength limitations.”


  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].

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