Blake Bell was drafted as a tight end in the fourth round for the San Francisco 49ers, but he has a track record of playing quarterback.
For his first three years on the field, he was the QB for the Oklahoma Sooners where he had a backup role mostly behind Trevor Knight. He would occasionally use his 6-6, 252 pound frame for goal line situations and take the direct snap for a rushing touchdown.
While playing to TE, Bell still has the mind of a quarterback on occasion.
“In your eyes, you kind of just, hey, I played quarterback before,” Bell said in a conference call about his transition. “So, it’s I can see the coverage, man, zone, what the corner’s doing, linebackers, D-ends, stuff like that. It obviously helped [playing quarterback].”
Bell said he will do what is asked of him in order to help the team. He made the switch to TE soon after losing the QB job to Knight, but was already used to catching footballs when he played receiver in high school.
In the 2014 season for his only year at TE, he had 214 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He was confident that he would get playing time when making the switch to tight end.
“When I made the switch, I knew 100 percent, you know, I’d keep working and I knew I had the size,” Bell said. “So yeah, I just wanted to get an opportunity. I just wanted to prove that I can play tight end and I want to play tight end. The more reps and I got out there I knew, ‘hey, I can do this.’ You know, and just kept working.”
General Manager Trent Baalke hinted that he could be the emergency third QB for a game day roster. Prior to the draft, the 49ers only had two quarterbacks under contract in Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert. They will sign undrafted free agent Dylan Thompson, but they didn’t take a QB with any of their 10 draft picks.
An NFL team usually has 46 active players with seven inactives and only one backup QB is typically active. There is always one out of position player who could be the emergency quarterback in the event both the starting and backup QB are hurt in a game.
The 49ers have historically had three quarterbacks on their roster with the third one being the scout team quarterback. Last year, Josh Johnson continuously spent weeks on and off the 53-man roster in the middle of the week in order to provide practice for the team as the scout team QB.
“I can’t wait to get in there and have the coaches seeing me, help me, giving me tips and stuff like that,” Bell said. “So, I’m just super excited.”