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The Irishman: Bears Draft Notre Dame's Cole Kmet

After struggling to get anything from the tight end position last year, the Bears drafted Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet with the 43rd pick

The Bears have a long-term solution to the tight end problem and it came from close to Halas Hall.

They drafted Cole Kmet, Notre Dame's tight end, with their first pick in the NFL Draft at No. 43 overall. Kmet is the son of former Purdue player Frank Kmet, who was with the Bears for a short time.

"My whole family we grew up Bears fans," Kmet said. "This is just unreal for us. It's a huge dream come true."

Probably it's most exciting for one family member.

"I think my mom was the most just because she knows that I'm going to be staying around home which she's real happy about," Kmet said.

Kmet is staying in shape during the COVID-19 crisis by staying close to home. Kmet now resides in Arlington Heights, not far from where he went to high school at St. Viator. He's working out at his grandmother's house in Barrington Hills in a weight room and running a hill near the Norge Ski Club's ski jump in Fox River Grove.

"Everyone likes the Walter Payton hill but I go to that one," Kmet said. "I grew up in Lake Barrington."

Kmet's favorite Bear growing up was Brian Urlacher, and he had a strong attachment to tight end Greg Olsen, as well, because they played the same position.

The Bears have a need at tight end behind Jimmy Graham, who is in Chicago on a two-year deal and will be 34 years old this season. Also their other tight end spot, the Y tight end on the line of scrimmage, is manned by players Kmet might have a chance to beat out in his rookie year. The Bears are currently counting on Demetrius Harris and Adam Shaheen at that position and Kmet, who is 6-foot-6, 253 pounds, could play either spot.

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His strength is his strength.

"I mean, that's something that a guy I've always looked up to was Gronk when he played and his physical style and play and being able to use his size at 6-6," Kmet said. "It's something that's unique and it's something I feel like I can do. 

"So his style of play is something I've tried to model after and that's kind of what I'm trying to emulate to be."

The strength only pertains to his receiving and route running. He admits he needs to get better as a blocker.

"I just have to continue to work on my things in terms of route running and obviously still working on my blocking and stuff," Kmet said. "Just continue to work on my route running and my speed and all that type of stuff and that will help translate as the year goes on next year."

Kmet is the son of former Purdue player Frank Kmet, who was with the Bears briefly. He is from Barrington in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and played high school ball at St. Viator.

Kmet's career consisted of only one season with many receptions. He had 43 as a junior for 515 yards and six touchdowns. Prior to that he had 17 catches total for 176 yards as a freshman and sophomore.

The Bears just cut Trey Burton last week and now have 10 players on their roster at tight end including Harris, Kmet, Graham, Ben Braunecker, Jesper Horsted, Dax Raymond, Eric Saubert, former USC basketball player Darion Clark and J.P. Holtz

The Bears passed on some of the better safeties by making this pick, like LSU's Grant Delpit and Antoine Winfield Jr.

The tight end position has been a problem since Burton began suffering injury issues with his groin and underwent three surgeries. On Friday, he told Colts reporters he is in the fourth month of a sixth-month recovery.