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Michigan’s Ronnie Bell is one of the most underrated players in the Draft

Long-time Michigan standout Ronnie Bell is a hidden gem in this year’s NFL Draft.



Dec 31, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Ronnie Bell (8) scores on a 34-yard catch and run against the TCU Horned Frogs in the second half of the 2022 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After playing five seasons in the Maize and Blue, Michigan’s Ronnie Bell is off to bigger and better things. The Wolverines’ star wide out has entered his name into the NFL Draft, participated in the Senior Bowl, and will be an attendee of the 2023 NFL Combine ahead of the draft in April.

Despite his stellar performance at Michigan, Bell is not as sought-after on many draft boards as you’d expect. Bell is bound to be a hidden gem for a lucky franchise.

Ronnie Bell commits to Michigan football

Out of high school, 247 Sports lists Ronnie Bell as a three-star composite recruit — he ranked No. 1,473 nationally, No. 212 among receivers, and No. 18 in Missouri. Bell is a product of Park Hill High School in Kansas City, MO.

Despite being one of the less sought-after players out of high school, Michigan football helped develop Ronnie Bell into a star during his five years in Ann Arbor. Many remember Bell making clutch catches for the Wolverines in 2018 and 2019 — though these same fans also remember his crucial drop against Penn State in the Wolverines’ 28-21 loss.

In hindsight, that drop only made Bell a better player — the Wolverines defeated No. 8 Notre Dame, 45-14, the following week and ended up finishing 9-3 that season. Bell may have seemed like an undersized, less-talented prospect, though his time with the Wolverines reflects the opposite.

Ronnie Bell becomes a star in Ann Arbor

As I said, Ronnie Bell saw ups and downs throughout his five seasons with the Wolverines. As a freshman in 2018, Ronnie Bell caught eight passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns during the Wolverines’ 10-3 campaign. During his sophomore year, Bell became one of Shea Patterson’s favorite targets, hauling in an impressive 48 passes for 758 yards and one touchdown.

Bell, like everyone else, during the COVID-19 season in 2020, saw limited action with the Wolverines — he caught 26 passes for 401 yards and a touchdown.

2021 was a disappointing year for Bell, though it was anything but his fault. After being named a team captain, Ronnie Bell caught one pass during Michigan’s Week 1 victory over Western Michigan; it was a 76-yard deep ball from former QB Cade McNamara, which went for six.

Sadly, Bell tore his ACL on a punt return and was sidelined for the remainder of Michigan’s 12-2 Big Ten title season.

In Michigan’s most recent season — an incredible 13-1 Big Ten title campaign in 2022 — Ronnie Bell was again one of Michigan’s leaders and became JJ McCarthy’s favorite target throughout the season. As a 5th-year senior, Bell caught 62 passes for 889 yards and four touchdowns as the Wolverines cruised through their schedule to the College Football Playoff.

Bell has been an instrumental part of the Wolverines’ culture change and will be missed by many. No one will miss Bell like his quarterback, rising junior JJ McCarthy. Bell ends his Michigan football career as a two-time All-Big Ten selection, a two-time Big Ten Champion, and a five-year letterman in the Maize and Blue.

Ronnie Bell will be a steal in this year’s NFL Draft

Many are concerned about Ronnie Bell’s NFL Draft stock because of his size and “talent” level, though this far in his career, Bell has already proven that neither issue is a factor in his on-field results.

Bell earned All-Big Ten honors repeatedly, helped Michigan win two Big Ten titles, and more. He was also a favorite receiver of four different quarterbacks throughout his time with the Wolverines: Shea Patterson (2018-19), Joe Milton (2020), Cade McNamara (2020-21), and JJ McCarthy (2022).

Bell’s work ethic and drive will guide him to success at the next level — he is speedy, shifty, has excellent hands, and will make an NFL coach very happy over the next few years of his career.

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CJ has covered college athletics in paid roles for around five years, including numerous sports and beats. His most recent work revolves largely around Penn State and Michigan football and basketball as a member of the credentialed media at both schools. Right now, CJ writes for Blue by Ninety, where he also serves as the site's credentialed football reporter. He also does some credentialed basketball coverage. Previously, CJ has made stops with sites like GBMWolverine, Saturday Blitz, Steeler Nation, and more.