Insider Analysis: TE Travis McCall

The Chicago Bears took Kellen Davis in Round 5 of last year's draft, and although he has lots of ability, he isn't the blocking tight end this offense requires. Team officials liked what they saw in Travis McCall at the Senior Bowl, so Alabama expert Kirk McNair weighs in with his take on the Crimson Tide TE.

The Midway Monsters have an enviable combination at the tight end position, with veteran Desmond Clark holding on to his starting spot and former first-round draft pick Greg Olsen working his way into the offense more and more.

However, since short-yardage and goal-line specialist John Gilmore left for Tampa Bay in free agency before 2008, the Bears had trouble filling that small-yet-important role in the offense. Clark is an adequate blocker at best, and Olsen is just a pass catcher right now and doesn't generate a push up front. Fifth-rounder Kellen Davis impressed with his hands and route running in training camp and the preseason, but he didn't develop into the big-and-bad tight end the coaching staff was looking for considering his intimidating 6-6.5, 262-pound frame.

While there's no way general manager Jerry Angelo will consider another tight end early in the NFL Draft because he's littered with holes on both sides of the football, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that he rolls the dice with a blocking specialist late on Day 2. One player team officials reportedly liked at the Senior Bowl last month was Travis McCall of Alabama. Having lined up at both tight end and fullback for the Crimson Tide, the 6-2, 276-pounder knows how to open a hole in the running game.

According to Kirk McNair, the Publisher of BamaMag.com on the Scout.com network, McCall has the flexibility to play a few positions and throws around the weights with the best of them.


TE Travis McCall
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

McNair Says: McCall has good football smarts and is a dedicated worker in the weight room and on the field. He was versatile at Alabama, playing tight end and H-back. He's an excellent blocker and proved to be very durable. He didn't get a lot of receiving opportunities, with just 24 catches in four years and no more than eight in any one season. But he is a coach's dream, a hard worker who gets the most from his ability and a very good person. He suited up for 51 games at Alabama, the second most in school history. And there have been some good players in Tuscaloosa.

JC's Take: Davis came out of Michigan State carrying a reputation as a premier talent with serious motivation problems, and he appears to have lived up to that scouting report thus far.

There are a lot of experts who believe Davis has what it takes to be a tremendous receiving tight end in the NFL, but the odds of him getting an opportunity to do so in Chicago behind Clark and Olsen are fading in a hurry. Ron Turner's offense missed Gilmore's presence in short-yardage and goal-line packages this past year, with reserve tackle Chris Williams eventually replacing Davis as the third tight end. Davis doesn't appear to be overly interested in being a blocker, while McCall excels in that role.

Having four tight ends on the roster sounds like a stretch, but remember that McCall can also provide a backup presence at fullback behind incumbent Jason McKie.

John Crist is the Publisher of BearReport.com. Kirk McNair is the Publisher of BamaMag.com.


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