The Miami Dolphins have shown pre-draft interest in New Mexico offensive lineman Byron Bell, according to a league source via Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post.
After missing most of his 2007 freshman season with a knee injury, Bell started all 12 games for the Lobos at right tackle in 2008 and was named an honorable mention CollegeFootballNews.com Freshman All-American.
Bell moved to left tackle for his final two seasons, grading out at over 90 percent during his senior campaign in 2010 with over 100 knockdown blocks. He was named by the Mountain West coaches as an honorable mention all-conference pick.
The 6-foot-5, 348-pound Bell was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine and battled maturity and academic issues early in his collegiate career. He was also arrested and briefly suspended by the Lobos for his involvement in a June 2009 fight in Albuquerque.
A powerful, stout offensive lineman, Bell may lack the elite athleticism to be an NFL left tackle and character concerns are going to knock him down in the draft. He currently projects as an undrafted free agent and may eventually switch to right tackle or guard at the next level.
That being the case, Bell is a talented and experienced player that may draw the Dolphins' interest in the seventh round of April's draft or as a free agent, where he could compete for a reserve lineman job or a spot on the practice squad in training camp.
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Chris J. Nelson graduated with a degree in journalism from Georgia State University and currently works for Turner Sports in Atlanta. He operates his own Miami Dolphins website, The Miami Dolphins Spotlight, and he can be followed on Twitter here.