The Chicago Bears selected Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet with the 43 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Bears have had a revolving door of mediocrity at the tight end position for quite some time, but the recent signing of veteran Jimmy Graham – combined with the use of a high draft pick to acquire Kmet – should tell you that the team would very much like that to change.
In addition to Graham, veterans Demetrius Harris and Adam Shaheen are Kmet’s toughest competition on Chicago’s tight end depth chart. That said, only Graham in his prime can compete with Kmet’s size and athleticism combination.
As long as Kmet can pick up the playbook and understand the role of the tight end in Chicago’s offense, he should be able to log heavy reps and minutes immediately.
That is one area where head coach Matt Nagy has been impressed with the rookie tight end.
"I have yet to trump him in a Zoom meeting on a question. I can't trick him. He knows it all,” Nagy said in a recent interview. "Some of the advice that was given to these young players heading into 2020 right now, is to understand your playbook in 2020 is going to be the most important thing you can do than in any other year.
“Because you don't have a lot of time and you don't have the ability for coaches to see what you can and can't do on that field,” continued Nagy. “This kid has that. I will guarantee you, I'll put it out there: He will know this playbook inside out. That's not going to be the issue.”
Once on the field, Kmet’s production will depend on how he is utilized. Some experts compare Kmet to former Irish tight end and current Minnesota Viking Kyle Rudolph. If those comparisons hold true when camp starts, it’ll be tough to keep the former Irish standout off the field.
The Bears have plenty of weapons at the skill positions in the passing game, but they also like to go old school and pound the ball on the ground.
If Nick Foles wins the starting quarterback job, Kmet will have a signal-caller who understands the importance of getting the ball to the tight end consistently if you want the offense to be successful. If you want Kmet to succeed right away in the NFL, you’re rooting for Foles to win the job.
Early on, you’re probably going to see Kmet used mostly in the red zone, both as a blocker and a big target with a nice catch radius. As the year progresses, and as long as Kmet is making progress, we should see him ascend to the No. 1 tight end role in the Windy City before the 2020 is over, finishing the year in the ballpark of 40 catches for around 450-500 yards and five scores.
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