Bears News: Getting to Know: Travis Bell
Photo courtesy: Kennesaw St.

Bears News: Getting to Know: Travis Bell

by - Senior Writer -

As the third day of the 2023 NFL draft was winding down, the Bears were set to make additional picks before things came to a close. Looking at what Ryan Poles did leading up to this point, it was a mystery as to what direction he would go, but one thing was certain. Poles was not only looking at adding depth to his roster, but he was also going to take a long look at the draft board to focus on the best player available.

Given how things fall as the draft plays on, you start to find some unrecognizable names in this range of the draft, and the Bears may have added an unrecognizable name for the casual college football fan. That man is Travis Bell from the FCS portion of college football. Taken 218th overall, the former Kennesaw St. DT is a big unknown, but he will be given an opportunity to prove his worth in rookie camp and beyond.

Looking to add some size in the trenches, Bell may only be 6-0, but at 310 pounds, he gives you the size you are looking for. Bell spent five years with the Owls, and during that time, he tallied 44 tackles, 24.5 tackles for a loss, and 11 sacks. As a graduate student this past season, Bell registered 30 tackles with 1.5 sacks, so a down year, yes, but the production has always been there.

Anytime you wait this long to get drafted, you never know how you will react, but when it comes to Bell, he was shocked when the Bears called him. Bell had to say this to the media after being selected by the Bears.

"It means the world," Bell said about being selected. "You see what school I came from. I worked my tail off just to get an opportunity, get a chance to be in the mix. It means a lot to mean to me. I plan on taking advantage of this opportunity." He then said this about what the Bears can expect from him work ethic-wise.

"I'm self-driven, man," Bell said. "I'm a nasty guy. I'm a hard worker. The work ethic is out of the roof. I'm a physical guy. At the point of attack, I'm physical. And I got a motor, man — y'all should expect to see me running sideline to sideline."

Although Kennesaw St. is an FCS program instead of an FBS program, don't let that deter you from this signing. The Owls have historically been one of the top programs in the FCS and are loaded with talented players every season. Bell is one of those star players that has helped this team become legitimate title contenders every season.

When you look at his pre-draft resume, many felt Bell would be an undrafted free agent but highly coveted at that. The Bears didn't want to take that chance, so they swung for the fences to take him in the seventh round, guaranteeing he could come into camp and give the coaches a look.

Bell is an interior defender with decent lateral quickness and power at the point of attack. He lacks the overall mass and anchor to eat up blocks inside, though. Bell has enough foot quickness and hand usage to work his way around blockers but might find his success rate plummet against NFL-caliber competition. Bell has traits to get a look as a one-gapping, even-front nose tackle but might need to fight for a spot as an undrafted free agent.

One thing that saved Bell in terms of his draft stock was his pro-day. Bell was an impressive tester during her pro day and posted 30 bench presses with a 32 1/2-inch vertical jump. He keeps his feet moving at all times and uses an excellent swipe move to dislodge his defender to try and get after the ball carrier.

Bell will be tested in the NFL, especially when it comes to defenders with long arms, as they give him the most problems. The long arms will get to him first, preventing him from using his skillset to his advantage. He also gets off his blockers slower than average, which can't happen in the NFL. Bell will not be a star in this league, but you always need a guy willing to do the dirty work to help a team win.

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