The Bears continued to bolster their tight end depth by inviting Wisconsin alum and former Giant Travis Beckum to training camp for a tryout. It seems the Bears have been adding a new TE every few weeks of the offseason and now have 6 on the training camp roster. After a stellar career at Wisconsin, Beckum was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2009 draft by the Giants. The scouting report on Beckum was that he was more of a receiver than a blocker with 4.62 speed, good hands, and the ability to run after the catch. He was compared to Owen Daniels and Randy McMichael and most draft sites had a 1st-2nd round grade on Beckum, but he slipped to the 3rd due to a broken leg suffered his senior year.
Beckum only started two games for the Giants over the first three years with the team, but he played in all but 4 games and had 26 catches for 264 yards and 3 TDs while also contributing on special teams. In 2011, during the Giants Super Bowl win, Beckum tore his ACL. He spent the 2012 season on the PUP list and then was released before the 2013 season. Beckum, now 27, was signed by the Seahawks in Feb but was released in May.
Of the 6 tight ends in camp, only Martellus Bennett has a guaranteed spot. The other 4 TEs currently under contract, Rosario, Mulligan, Miller and Mastrud are all considered blocking tight ends, so the fact that Beckum is more of an H-back / Move TE gives him a shot to make the roster if he still has some of the speed and athleticism that made him a 3rd round pick back in 2009.
The Bears also invited offensive lineman Thomas Austin to camp on a tryout basis. The former undrafted free agent has spent time with the Vikings, Texans, Panthers, Colts and Patriots (twice) since entering the league in 2010. Austin appeared in one game for the Texans in 2010 at center, 4 games for the Panthers in 2011 at both center and guard, and was on the Colts active roster for a few games last season but never saw the field. Austin’s versatility gives him a chance to make the roster as a swing interior lineman, but he is a long-shot.