The Bears on Saturday drafted Kennesaw State defensive lineman Travis Bell in the seventh round with the No. 218 overall pick. With the selection, Bell became the first NFL Draft pick in Kennesaw State history.
Bell was surprised when he got the call from general manager Ryan Poles while watching the draft at home in Georgia and said his "heart dropped" and he immediately started crying. Bell told Chicago reporters Saturday on a Zoom call that being the first player from Kennesaw State to ever be drafted is "everything you can ask for for a guy like me."
"It means the world," Bell said about being selected. "You see what school I came from. I worked my tail off to just 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."
The 6-0, 310-pounder spent five years with the Owls, playing in 44 games and totaling 11 sacks and 24.5 tackles-for-loss.
In 2022 as a graduate student, he totaled a career-high 30 tackles and 1.5 sacks. As a senior in 2021, Bell was named to the All-Big South Conference Second Team.
Bell said he "got a lot of love from the Bears," but was still worried in the pre-draft process about getting an opportunity to prove himself in the NFL. The defensive lineman listed his best traits as explosiveness, penetration and being disruptive in the run game.
"I'm self-driven, man," Bell said. "I'm a nasty guy. I'm a hard worker. The work ethic is out 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."
A Montgomery, Ala. native, Bell played high school football at Jefferson Davis and totaled 229 tackles and 20.0 sacks across four years. During his senior year, he posted a career-best 54 solo tackles, 80 total tackles, 16 TFLs and 9.0 sacks through eight games.
With the 218th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Bears select Kennesaw State DL Travis Bell.