If you’re wondering which player in this draft class was most destined to be a Chicago Bear, it’s DT Travis Bell. He didn’t have a first-round grade, but Ryan Poles granted Bell a top-30 visit and Poles said it went so well he didn’t want the young man to leave.
“One of my favorite human beings,” Poles said. “There is something different about this guy. He has a passion for the game.”
There’s more to Bell than just his professional demeanor. He’s an athletic freak from Kennesaw State with a 32.5″ vertical jump. He might have slid into the UDFAS pool but Poles didn’t want to miss out on Bell.
Here’s an assessment by Lance Zierlein of NFL Network:
- 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. He 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.
Here’s what ESPN said about Bell:
- Bell has a good blend of size, quickness, and range. He has a low center of gravity and natural leverage to get under blockers. Bell’s a better run defender than a pass-rusher.
- Bell is the first Kennesaw State player drafted into the NFL. He tested well at the combine and recorded 30 reps on the bench press along with a 32.5- inch vertical jump. He’s on the smaller side for someone who could fit best as a backup nose tackle (6-foot, 310 pounds) but collected 24.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks in 54 career games. Bell is the third defensive tackle prospect taken by the Bears this draft.
- NFL Comp: Grady Jarrett
— Kennesaw State Football (@kennesawstfb) April 29, 2023
Bell joins an interior defensive line group that includes veterans Justin Jones and Andrew Billings. The Bears also drafted Gervon Dexter in the second round and Zacch Pickens in the third. Chicago was unable to draft an EDGE rusher, so perhaps one of the rookies can work on the outside. Trevis Gipson, Dominique Robinson, and DeMarcus Walker currently man the ends.