2022 NFL Draft: Purdue stars David Bell, George Karlaftis say after outstanding junior seasons

Purdue star wide receiver David Bell confirmed in a social media post on Wednesday that he is declaring himself for the 2022 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-2-inch Indianapolis, Indiana native has been named in the 2021 CBS Sports / 247Sports First Team All-Star this season after catching 93 passes for 1,286 yards and six touchdowns as a junior.

Assuming Bell doesn’t play Tennessee in the Music City Bowl, he will be leaving Purdue with 232 career receptions and 21 touchdowns in just 29 total games.

“Growing up watching football with my grandfather at a young age, I realized what I wanted to do,” Bell said in a video. “Ever since I was little, I’ve always had dreams and aspirations to play in the NFL, and that time has finally come.”

Bell has been especially huge for the Boilermakers in upset victories over Michigan State and Iowa this season, capturing 11 passes for 240 yards against the Hawkeyes and 11 grabbing for 217 yards against the Spartans. His draft declaration comes two days after Purdue star linebacker George Karlaftis, also a junior, also declared himself for the draft.

Karlaftis will leave Purdue with 97 career tackles, including 29 loss tackles and 14 sacks on his resume. He was voted a CBS Sports All-American second team member this season.

Here are the takeaways from the news that Bell and Karlaftis are choosing to quit college football.

Purdue’s peak?

After going 6-12 in the 2019 and 2020 seasons, this year’s Purdue team has enjoyed a strong rebound under the guidance of fifth-year coach Jeff Brohm. The wins over Iowa, which was No. 2 at the time, and Michigan State, which was No. 5, are landmark wins that restore confidence in the direction of the program.

Now the question will be whether Brohm can keep the momentum going with his top players on both sides of football. The Boilermakers’ 2021 recruiting class placed last in the Big Ten, and their 2022 route is in seventh. The pedestrian inbound talent combined with the outbound exodus will raise good questions as to whether the Boilermakers can match this season in 2022 or 2023.

Screening projects

Karlaftis is a planned first round pick, but opinions differ on where he will be selected. In his most recent simulation project, Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports screened Karlaftis at No.22 of the Los Angeles Chargers. However, Chris Trapasso, another CBS Sports expert, places Karlaftis at No.4 on the New York Jets.

Bell is ranked No. 34 in the latest CBS Sports NFL Draft Prospect Rankings, but failed the first round of our most recent draft draft. However, with his speed, hands and high-caliber performances against some of the best defenses on the Purdue schedule this season, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Bell slip into the first round.

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