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Cowboys countdown to kickoff: #41 Markquese Bell

The Dallas Cowboys face the New York Giants in Week 1. And we’re counting down to it by jersey numbers.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

We’re continuing our countdown to the opening game of the Dallas Cowboys 2023 regular season. Each day we’ll present a new player whose jersey number represents the countdown to opening day. Today is number 41.

S Markquese Bell
Born: 6th January 1999 (24) - Bridgeton, New Jersey
College: Florida A&M Rattlers
Draft: 2022, UDFA, Dallas Cowboys

2021 Stats: (College)
Snaps: 771
Tackles: 86
Defensive Stops: 42
Pass Breakup: 1
Interceptions: 1
Sacks: 2
QB Rate Allowed: 92.3
Penalties: 3

Markquese Bell had quite an eventful start to his college career. He was rated a four-star recruit from high school receiving offers from Ohio State, Rutgers, and Virginia. But he chose to play at Maryland and joined as an early enrollee. It was never disclosed what violation he broke, but he was suspended by the team for breaking team rules which then resulted in his expulsion from Maryland over issues with him breaking code of conduct rules. Having never playing a single snap for the Terrapins he went to Coffeyville Community College in 2018.

While at Coffeyville, Bell made 52 tackles and two interceptions. At the end of the season he transferred to Florida A&M and played two seasons for the Rattlers. He made 111 tackles, four pass breakups, two interceptions and three sacks in the two seasons he played at Florida A&M. He was named first-team All-conference twice and was fifth in the FCS during the 2021 in tackles for loss (five).

Cowboys Review:
Last year, Bell had a lot of interest from fans and analysts when the Cowboys managed to snag him during last year’s undrafted free agency period. Everyone was already enamored by the safety position and how good they looked, then with the arrival of Bell it only made the position look even deeper. He did play a little last season with 25 snaps on defense and made one tackle, but he got the most action on special teams. It’s not much to write about but it’s a start and now the coaches have had a small chance to see how he looks on the field.

2023 Roster Projection:
The big three at the safety position is pretty much solidified, but Bell offers the team an extra player to cover for any issues during the season with fatigue or injury, and also if Donovan Wilson has to miss the start of the season. Bell is a brilliant run defender and is a superb mover laterally. There’s plenty of burst and explosiveness to his game.

His issues come with tackling consistently and being more fluid and loose while in zone coverage assignments. It was clear last year he needed to be more coordinated and faster with his backpedal, and hopefully last season this was an emphasis of his development. If he can be smoother in his movements then he could be the fourth safety on the roster, or at least take more snaps on special teams to build up play experience.

Projected 2023 Stats:
Snaps: 190
Tackles: 18
TFL: 2
Defensive stops: 6
Pass Breakups: 1

The Big Question:
Will Markquese Bell get more play time this year during the regular season? Comment below.

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