Chopping Block Could be Calling

RB Kahlil Bell (Getty: Jonathan Daniel)

JC constructed a 53-man roster before minicamp, making 27 cuts along the way. But after watching three days of workouts, it is time to revisit the 53. These five didn't do much to help themselves:

Kahlil Bell

Bell introduced himself to the Windy City in style, racing 72 yards on the first carry of his career and averaging 5.5 yards per attempt as the primary backup to Matt Forte the second half of 2009. That being said, if you take away his 72-yard scamper, the undrafted free agent out of UCLA averaged a rather pedestrian 3.8 yards per tote and only had two other runs of double-digit yards the rest of the season. Most importantly, running backs have to be able to catch the call consistently in Mike Martz's offense, and that is one part of Bell's game he simply doesn't do very well.

Assuming Forte and free-agent signee Chester Taylor both get plenty of work and keep each other fresh for 17 weeks, there may be no reason to have four ball carriers – Garrett Wolfe is still No. 3 – and Bell might be practice squad material again.

Eddie Williams

A seventh-round pick of the Redskins in the 2009 NFL Draft out of Idaho, Williams bounced on and off the Washington practice squad as a rookie but finally earned a promotion to the 53-man roster in November. However, he wasn't a part of the offense and, therefore, accumulated no offensive stats, as he was only used on special teams and sparingly at that – he was released in March. New to fullback, Williams was a tight end in college and good enough at that position to earn first-team All-WAC honors and an honorable-mention All-American nod from Sports Illustrated as a senior.

With Will Ta'ufo'ou getting all the first-team reps at fullback in minicamp, coupled with the fact that Martz's scheme doesn't feature a lot of two-back formations, Williams will likely have to beat out Ta'ufo'ou in training camp to earn a roster spot.

Kellen Davis

Martz has a reputation for ignoring the tight ends altogether in the passing game, but both Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark were on the receiving end of a lot of throws all three days at Halas Hall. Davis and Richard Angulo, on the other hand, spent the majority of their time staying in to block with the second stringers and didn't get many opportunities to run routes and catch passes. This was necessary because of the absence of free-agent addition Brandon Manumaleuna, who is recovering from a knee scope and wasn't able to participate over the weekend.


DT Marcus Harrison
Getty Images: Jonathan Daniel

Martz has said from Day 1 that his tight ends must be blockers first, which is a major reason why Manumaleuna is now a Bear, and since Davis has never stood out as a blocker, it makes little sense to keep yet another catch-first option at that spot with Olsen and Clark still ahead of him on the depth chart.

Marcus Harrison

Harrison had first-round talent but slid to the Bears in Round 3 of the 2008 draft, in part because he earned a reputation for not being much of a worker – some scouting reports stopped just short of calling him lazy. The former Arkansas Razorback certainly flashed his potential as a rookie, highlighted by a sack of hard-to-sack All-Pro Peyton Manning in the season opener, but he showed up to training camp last summer out of shape and was punished by being placed on the non-football injury list for a while. It's possible he is still having a hard time pushing himself away from the dinner table, seeing that he didn't work out at minicamp and coach Lovie Smith went no further than to claim Harrison was "sick."

With Tommie Harris and Anthony Adams solidified as the starters at tackle, plus longer and leaner youngsters Jarron Gilbert and Henry Melton poised to make an impact, Harrison could be a victim of Smith's "no fat guys" policy.

Al Afalava

Like so many defensive backs before him during the Smith regime, Afalava went from one of the coaching staff's favorites to buried on the depth chart seemingly overnight. A starter the majority of his rookie season – at both free and strong safety, although he has no business playing free – before getting hurt down the stretch, Afalava was lucky to get second-team reps throughout training camp and even then had to rotate with the likes of Craig Steltz, Josh Bullocks and third-round pick Major Wright. General manager Jerry Angelo said before and after April's draft that the NFL is a passing league more than ever and teams need safeties with cover skills, but Afalava is just another in-the-box defender and didn't intercept one pass last year.

Since he is still bothered by a shoulder, the Bears have a built-in excuse if they want to give Afalava the proverbial redshirt and stash him on injured reserve until 2011.

Note: To review JC's original 53-man roster, which was published May 6, or more than two full weeks before this past weekend's veteran minicamp, Click Here.


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John Crist is the Publisher of BearReport.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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