Matt Nagy has been starving for a tight end. Is Cole Kmet from Notre Dame a perfect fit for the Chicago Bears?
Cole Kmet is an up-and-coming prospect who has come on the scene to close out the 2019 College Football season. He came along slowly in his freshman and sophomore years and even started his junior year with a collar bone injury that sidelined him for three games.
However, Kmet flashed to close the season and became an impact addition to their offense down the stretch. He finished the year with 43 receptions for 515 yards and six touchdowns in 10 games.
Kmet decided to strike while the iron was hot and declared for the NFL draft. Given the Chicago Bears need for a tight end, would Kmet be a fit for them in the second round, or are there other options who could fit better?
What makes Kmet valuable is that he can play anywhere. He has lined up in the slot, on the line, flexed off of the line, out wide, and even in the H-back role. He has been used to pull as a blocker, seal the edge and cover the backside as a blocker.
Kmet can stretch the middle of the field as a pass-catcher, he can run quick routes out of the backfield such as flares and angle routes and can sit in soft spots of the zone. Kmet also has enough strength and balance to create after the catch.
Kmet presents distinct size for the red zone, and while he comes in with limited experience, he is also one of the youngest players in the draft.
The lack of experience can show at times as a blocker. He is still working to put on strength, and while he shows reasonable effort and has taken on defensive lineman, he is still working on some of the technical aspects and reigning his power in.
On top of that, he is a moveable receiver but is not a dynamic threat. He has size and speed that demand respect over the seams but is not an elite athlete who can finish off long runs beating safeties. He can make catches in traffic but is not a physical presence who can consistently body players in the air.
The Notre Dame may be what peruses the comparison, but it is hard to watch Kmet and not be reminded of the old days of Tyler Eifert wearing the same helmet.
Both stand at around 6’5″ and know how to use their size as a pass catcher in the seam. Eifert is not noted as an elite blocker but can get the job done. However, on top of that comes the injury question where Kmet does not have nearly the same history but does have one injury to note. The injury is going to be brought up because it cut into the one year where he had real production.
Fit for Chicago Bears
When looking at the tight end landscape and the potential upside of Kmet, it is going to be a sweat as to whether or Kmet even makes it to the Chicago Bears second-round pick. However, if he does, is that the floor for his draft fall?
What would be nice about Kmet is that he can compliment Trey Burton, and neither has to be looked at as a go-to option. Burton has too many injury questions but is useful in small doses. Kmet is a young rookie who can work in the deeper middle of the field.
The issue with that is that neither would be consistently trusted as a blocker early on.
Still, Kmet showed a lot of growth in his first year of playing time as a blocker and looking at his upside in comparison to others in the class, and it is hard not to think about Kmet filling in the role that Adam Shaheen was intended for.
Something tells me the pedigree player from Notre Dame in round two has a better shot at working out than the Ashland College player.