Patriots' seventh-round pick Jaheim Bell has the tools to 'thrive' in New England

Will this Bell ring loudly in Foxboro?
Patriots tight end Jaheim Bell
Patriots tight end Jaheim Bell / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

The New England Patriots need playmakers, and they need them wherever and however they can get them.  With all eyes on the team’s top pick Drake Maye, the team’s last selection in the 2024 NFL Draft could turn out to be a steal in the seventh round according CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso.

In highlighting AFC rookies who could earn key roles in 2024, Trapasso sees tight end Jaheim Bell as a sleeper for the Patriots, a player who has the athleticism to step in that third tight end role. 

Patriots get a steal in the seventh-round of the 2024 NFL Draft

Selected with the No. 231 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the product out of Florida State has the speed to stretch the field as an undersized tight end.  He also has the versatility to line up in different alignments.  What stands up most to Trapasso is his ability to break tackles and create yards after the catch, something the Patriots will desperately need to help inject that anemic offense from a year ago with some excitement.

Trapasso writes:

“Another ridiculous asset after the catch, Bell had no business going in the seventh round. Not in today's NFL, that has gotten more and more YAC-predicated over the past five years. No, he's not going to separate like some of the better tight ends in football. But utilized as a gadget-y type out of the backfield and on routes against zone underneath, Bell can thrive right away in New England.”

Projected as a sixth-round pick entering the draft, Bell is exactly the type of player Bill Belichick would’ve loved because of his versatility and what he can do in the middle of the field.  With new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt installing a West Coast system offense in Foxboro, a player with the skillset of Bell could absolutely “thrive” in New England as Trapasso went on to mention. 

The Patriots do have two capable pass-catching tight ends in Hunter Henry and Austin Hooper, but neither have that explosive, big-play ability Bell brings to the table. Can Van Pelt find a way to use him where he can be a valuable, yet surprising asset in the Patriots’ offense?

Coming off a season in which he caught 39 passes for 503 yards and 2 receiving touchdowns, Bell could play a hybrid role in New England.  He had 3 rushing TDs in 2022 while at South Carolina and a rushing TD at Florida, so could the Patriots morph him into a fullback/tight end role.  If he is lining up in front of Rhamondre Stevenson, he could be utilized as a pass-catching H-back/flex tight end type.  The Patriots have toyed with this in the past with other tight ends so don’t be surprised if that’s where Bell finds his niche.